What is Atmospheric Chemistry?
When I interact with other chemists, I like to give the analogy that the atmosphere is like a large round bottom flask, where countless chemical reactions are taking place. For example, the emissions from anthropogenic and biogenic sources are the starting materials. The wind and turbulence act as stir bars and the sunlight acts as a hot plate. The round bottom flask also contains water, a crucial molecule to atmospheric chemistry, because it transports heat through the atmosphere, serves as a solvent for atmospheric aqueous reactions, and cleans the atmosphere through wet deposition.
Water is also a precursor to the major oxidant in the atmosphere: the hydroxyl (OH) radical, the so-called atmospheric detergent. The real atmosphere has all these processes occurring simultaneously and we arguably understand a fraction of the chemical processes that lead to air pollution and climate change!The NBD research group has an atmospheric organic chemistry expertise applied to the fields of indoor and outdoor air chemistry, and of atmospheric ice nucleation (Figure 1). Our research is collaborative to allow us to ask big-picture questions with implications for air quality and climate.
Figure 1: This hierarchy of my research interests depicts how my group will be applying atmospheric organic chemistry expertise to big picture problems such as air quality and climate change. The specific research projects outlined in this proposal fall within the context of indoor air, outdoor air and atmospheric ice nucleation.