Environmental Chemistry Research Group

Atmospheric aerosol is largely composed of mineral dust, soil particles lifted into the atmosphere by wind action or volcanic eruptions, with an estimated annual emissions of 1,000-3,000 Tg/yr. This is expected to continue to increase as long as improper land-use practices. Conversely, with the emergence of new industries based on nanoscience and nanotechnology, it is expected elevated levels of engineered nanoparticles, manufactured particles in the size range of 1-100 nm, in atmospheric aerosol. Once air-bone, these aerosol particles provide reactive surfaces for chemistry and photochemistry in the presence of trace atmospheric gases (e.g. NO2 and SO2). Atmospheric processing of these mineral dust aerosol and manufactured nanoparticles plays an important role in the coupled global processes of chemistry, climate, biogeochemical cycles, and health.

 

In one of our such projects, we focus on chemical and photochemical transformation of  aerosol  dust particles in the presence of organic pollutants such as dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and ammonia (NH3) under atmospherically relevant conditions such as relative humidity, temperature  and solar flux. These particular chemical and photochemical reactions are expected to acidify dust particles and alter reaction pathways and mechanisms.

 

Although field studies are matured and provide bulk information of these atmospheric reactions, there is still a great deal of fundamental research needed especially as the research relates to molecular speciation of adsorbates and surface coatings of particles,

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

GAYAN R. RUBASINGHEGE

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Department of Chemistry

801 Leroy Place

Socorro, NM 87801

Bethany Jessen

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Department of Chemistry

801 Leroy Place

Socorro, NM 87801

Phone: 575-835-5129

Fax: 575-835-5215

Phone: 575-835-5263

Fax: 575-835-5364

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