Experimental study of the effect of temperature on ion cluster formation using ion mobility spectrometry

Aerosol Physics Laboratory, Tampere University of Technology, P.O. Box 692, FI-33101 Tampere, Finland; Environics Oy, P.O. Box 349, FI-50101 Mikkeli, Finland
Atmospheric Research (Impact Factor: 2.2). 01/2008; DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2007.12.003

ABSTRACT Ion mobility spectrometry offers a robust and effective technique to study ion clusters in ambient conditions. Here, we have experimentally studied the influence of temperature on the positive ion cluster formation of 2-propanol vapor in air, along with parallel measurements for n-butyl acetate vapor in air. For both of these low proton affinity compounds in the ppm concentration range, temperatures below 0 °C tend to favor formation of dimers and trimers. The measurements indicate that approximate estimations for the fractions of these n-mers (n > 1) in the ion spectra, can be obtained by classical theory for ion induced nucleation. Presence of natural background vapors however slightly blurs the data, especially for the fraction of monomers, so that accurate prediction of the fractions of n-mers in the spectra would require more accurate information on the gas composition. The findings concerning thermal behavior of ions help to understand better ion phenomena also in field conditions.