The oxidation of reactive organic compounds in the Earth’s atmosphere plays a central role in human health and climate. While oxidation is a major degradation pathway for many atmospheric pollutants, it can also lead to the formation of harmful secondary pollutants such as ozone and secondary organic aerosol. However our ability to describe these effects is limited by the immense chemical complexity of the system: the oxidation of even one organic compound can lead to the formation of a very large number of products. This talk will describe an ongoing series of laboratory experiments aimed at better understanding these complex and evolving systems. In these experiments, organic compounds (either individual species or more complex mixtures) are oxidized in an environmental chamber, and reactants, intermediates, and products are measured using a suite of real-time mass spectrometric instruments. Such measurements provide information on the complex oxidation product distributions as a function of time or oxidant exposure. Reaction systems to be discussed include the oxidation of individual compounds, the evolution of wildfire smoke, and the treatment of indoor air using portable air cleaners.
Jesse Kroll is a Professor at MIT’s Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering, and is the Director of MIT’s Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory for Environmental Science and Engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 2003, and was a postdoc at Caltech and then a Research Scientist at Aerodyne Research, Inc. Jesse’s research group studies atmospheric organic chemistry, with a particular focus on laboratory studies of secondary organic aerosol, complex multiphase mixtures, oxidation reactions within the aerosol phase, and the use of low-cost sensors to measure gas-phase and particulate pollutants. He has co-authored over 120 papers in the peer-reviewed literature, and was a recipient of AAAR’s Kenneth T. Whitby Award, the NSF CAREER Award, and AGU’s James B. Macelwane Medal.
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