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Better air quality through chemistry: Real-time monitoring of reactive trace species in key atmospheric reactions impacting air quality

Project Description

Poor air quality has been reported as the greatest environmental risk to public health in the UK, has recently been linked to dementia, and is estimated to cause over 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year. Policies designed to address issues such as air quality and climate rely on accurate knowledge of atmospheric chemistry and composition, requiring a fundamental understanding of the chemistry of reactive trace species.

Criegee intermediates are an important class of reactive intermediates produced in the atmosphere following the oxidation of unsaturated volatile organic compounds by ozone. Criegee intermediates react rapidly in the atmosphere, with potential impacts on the oxidising capacity of the atmosphere and formation of sulfate aerosol and secondary organic aerosol. However, detailed assessments of the role and impacts of Criegee intermediates in the atmosphere are hindered by a lack of information regarding the kinetics and product yields of Criegee intermediate reactions.

Recent work in the Stone group has developed capabilities to monitor Criegee intermediates and their reaction products in real-time during the course of their reactions to to determine the reaction kinetics and product yields needed to assess atmospheric impacts. In this project you will combine the use of time-resolved broadband UV absorption spectroscopy and time-resolved infrared quantum cascade laser (QCL) spectroscopy developed in the Stone group to investigate the reactions of Criegee intermediates with water in the atmosphere.

The role of chemistry in controlling atmospheric composition is of fundamental importance to our understanding of air quality and climate change. This work will provide valuable measurements of reaction kinetics and product yields to improve our understanding of atmospheric composition and chemistry, providing greater constraints on model calculations of global oxidising capacity and production of secondary organic aerosol.

You will have opportunities to develop skills in experimental design, kinetics, spectroscopy, atmospheric modelling and data analysis. You will develop experimental methodology that can be applied to a wide range of problems including those in atmospheric chemistry, combustion chemistry, astrochemistry, and materials chemistry.

Funding Notes

This project is in competition for funding as part of the Leeds-York NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), for more details see View Website

How good is research at University of Leeds in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.40

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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