Applications of High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry in Studies of Brown Carbon
Publication date: October 2018
Source: Chinese Journal of Analytical Chemistry, Volume 46, Issue 10
Author(s): Hong-Xing JIANG, Jun LI, Jiao TANG, Yang-Zhi MO, Gan ZHANG
Brown carbon is a hotspot in the field of atmospheric carbonaceous aerosol research. It has significant influence on regional radiative forcing and exerts climatic effects due to its apparent absorbance in the near ultraviolet-visible region. Brown carbon is mainly derived from incomplete combustion of biomass or coal, as well as secondary sources, such as a series of atmospheric photochemical reactions from volatile organic compounds. Although the composition of brown carbon is complex, high-resolution mass spectrometry, with its ultra-high mass resolution and precision, enables elucidation of the characteristics of the organic components of brown carbon at the molecular level. Here, high-resolution mass spectrometry combined with traditional analytical methods was used for the study of brown carbon. The development of high-resolution mass spectrometry for brown carbon separation is reviewed, as well as compositional analysis, source apportionment, and formation mechanism of brown carbon based on high-resolution data. In addition, the issues and prospects for the application of high-resolution mass spectrometry to evaluate brown carbon are discussed.
High-resolution mass spectrometry coupled with chromatographic separation technique is a powerful tool for identifying brown carbon on molecular level. As many kinds of specific brown carbon in a variety of biomass combustion sources and environmental samples have been identified by this way, it will be widely used in future studies.