Characterization of Particulate Matter Containing Various Organic Components
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Chemistry Honors Theses; 2011
Particulate matter is ubiquitous in the atmosphere and is known to have significant effects on the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems, as well as less acute generalized systemic responses. While many studies have focused on the concentration of particulate matter, it is also essential to consider the composition of such species. Characterization of dust presents some challenges as the particles of interest have sizes on the order of the wavelengths of light, leading to substantial scattering, which complicates absorption spectra. Scatter-free infrared spectra may be obtained from single particles on the order of 5 μm by utilizing the effect of surface plasmon polariton-mediated resonances which propagate on a nickel mesh arrayed with 5 micron square holes. Initial results from these spectra indicate that the majority of dust particles contain some degree of organic components, which likely exist in an inorganic matrix. While it currently has not been possible to identify the individual species responsible for the organic signatures in the infrared spectra, it is possible to compare these spectra to various groups to provide an initial degree of characterization. Using the distinguishing peaks from to yeast, tar, humic acid, and humic salt spectra, the particles were sorted into groupings. It is believed that these standards may provide a figure of merit for the degree to which the organic components of the particles have decayed.
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