As part of the department's seminar series, Oberlin's own Robert and Eleanor Biggs Professor of Natural Science & Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Matthew J. Elrod will present his sabbatical report on the topic "Physical Organic Chemistry on Atmospheric Aerosol Particles".
The seminar will be preceded by a reception at 4:30 p.m., in the David Love Lounge.
Sponsored by the Luke E. Steiner Lecture Fund.
It has been recently estimated that 4.5 million lives are lost prematurely each year globally due to the effects of air pollution. Aerosol particles - the microscopic liquid or solid matter in the atmosphere that also causes visibility loss - have been identified as the most important component of toxic air pollution worldwide. In particular, particles formed by condensation and/or reaction of organic compounds (known as secondary organic aerosol or SOA) are thought to be the dominant chemical class of aerosol species. However, the mechanisms by which organic compounds become incorporated into SOA remain uncertain. In this presentation, experimental laboratory kinetics data are employed to ascertain the structure-reactivity relationships that rationalize the mechanistic details for how certain isoprene-related organic compounds help to form SOA. Substituent effects are used to rationalize the differing nucleophilic addition mechanisms and reaction rate constants, and a nucleophilicity scale is developed to explain product formation observations under conditions in which two or more nucleophiles are present. These frameworks serve as a basis for predicting the SOA reactivity of as-of-yet-unidentified organic compound oxidation intermediates in the presence of the variety of nucleophiles known to exist on SOA.