University of Oulu

Laaksonen, A., Malila, J., and Nenes, A.: Heterogeneous nucleation of water vapor on different types of black carbon particles, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 13579–13589,, 2020.

Heterogeneous nucleation of water vapor on different types of black carbon particles

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Author: Laaksonen, Ari1,2; Malila, Jussi3; Nenes, Athanasios4,5
Organizations: 1Finnish Meteorological Institute, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
2Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
3Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4Laboratory of Atmospheric Processes and their Impacts, School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
5Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH/ICE-HT), 26504 Patras, Greece
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Copernicus Publications, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-02-08


The heterogeneous nucleation of water vapor on insoluble particles affects cloud formation, precipitation, the hydrological cycle, and climate. Despite its importance, heterogeneous nucleation remains a poorly understood phenomenon that relies heavily on empirical information for its quantitative description. Here, we examine the heterogeneous nucleation of water vapor on different types of soots as well as cloud drop activation of different types of soots, including both pure black carbon particles and black carbon particles mixed with secondary organic matter. We show that the recently developed adsorption nucleation theory quantitatively predicts the nucleation of water and droplet formation upon particles of the various soot types. A surprising consequence of this new understanding is that, with sufficient adsorption site density, soot particles can activate into cloud droplets — even when completely lacking any soluble material.

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Series: Atmospheric chemistry and physics
ISSN: 1680-7316
ISSN-E: 1680-7324
ISSN-L: 1680-7316
Volume: 20
Issue: 21
Pages: 13579 - 13589
DOI: 10.5194/acp-20-13579-2020
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 114 Physical sciences
1171 Geosciences
Funding: This research has been supported by the Academy of Finland, C-Main project (grant no. 309141), the Center of Excellence program (grant no. 307331), the EU H2020 Excellent Science – European Research Council (ERC) (SURFACE (grant agreement no. 717022) and PyroTRACH (grant agreement no. 726165)), and the EU H2020 Societal Challenges – Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials (FORCeS (grant agreement no. 821205)).
EU Grant Number: (717022) SURFACE - The unexplored world of aerosol surfaces and their impacts.
Copyright information: © Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed underthe Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.