Size-Dependent Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation in Atmospherically Relevant Complex Systems

Theresa M. Kucinski, Joseph Nelson Dawson, Miriam Arak Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Physical properties of aerosol particles, such as liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), have the potential to impact the climate system. Model systems have been shown to have size-dependent LLPS in the submicron regime; however, these systems are an extreme simplification of ambient aerosol, which can include myriad organic compounds. We expand the studies of LLPS in particles consisting of ammonium sulfate and more complex organic mixtures from multiple organic compounds to α-pinene secondary organic matter (SOM). All systems display a size-dependent morphology, with small particles remaining homogeneous while large particles phase-separate. Surprisingly, three-phase particles were also observed in some of the systems in addition to a new phase state that we have termed channel morphology, which can arise upon efflorescence. The existence of size-dependent LLPS in complex organic mixtures and SOM provides evidence that this is a relevant phenomenon for ambient aerosol and should be considered when modeling atmospheric aerosol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6915-6920
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 7 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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