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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An investigation of aqueous ammonium nitrate aerosols with soft X-ray spectroscopy


Aqueous aerosols are important in atmospheric chemistry, drug delivery, and human health. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), a surface-sensitive technique and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy which informs on the bulk, is deployed to study the solvation of ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3). Aerosolised solutions of NH4NO3 were introduced into a photoelectron spectrometer via an aerodynamic lens, and interrogated with soft X-ray photons, the resulting electrons were imaged via velocity map imaging. Density functional theory calculations were performed to compare with the measured binding energies of NH4+ and NO3− solvated in water. The results reveal that the nitrate anion has a slight propensity for the surface, while both ammonium and nitrate ions are present in equal measure in the bulk.

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