Organic Peroxyl Radical reactions and their Atmospheric Relevance

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Benjamin Frandsen


Postdoctoral Fellow


Tampere University


DKK 900,000




Internationalisation Fellowships


Research into atmospheric reactions of organic peroxyl radicals (ROO). We study the ROO radicals that are derived from both human and plant emissions of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere and how they influence aerosol formation.


Aerosols, especially very small ones, are significant air pollutants and a significant amount of atmospheric aerosols are known to contain a large fraction of organic material. Additionally, aerosols can lead to cloud formation and alter the physical properties of clouds which can affect the climate. There are significant gaps in the connection between emissions of volatile organic compounds and how they result in the formation of aerosols. The chemical processes that creates condensable organic compounds out of volatile ones are ripe for study. There is a potential for new discoveries which may affect our fundamental understanding of the chemical processes that emitted organic material undergo.


A combination of experimental methods and theoretical methods will be used. Our primary experimental instrumentation to use is a flow reactor setup which is an extremely sensitive technique. It can be used to quantify how fast specific reactions are and what products are produced. This will be supplemented with a wide range of theoretical methods which we will use to uncover what the reaction mechanisms are most significant and match this to the experimental results. We also have matrix-isolation spectroscopy instrumentation available which can be used to prevent molecules/radicals from reacting by freezing them to near zero Kelvin temperature. Under those conditions we can study otherwise unstable compounds, reaction intermediates and products directly, which will aid us in determining the reaction mechanisms behind the chemical processes organic material in the atmosphere undergo.

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