Nitrate ion photolysis in thin water films in the presence of bromide ions.
ABSTRACT Nitrate ions commonly coexist with halide ions in aged sea salt particles, as well as in the Arctic snowpack, where NO(3)(-) photochemistry is believed to be an important source of NO(y) (NO + NO(2) + HONO + ...). The effects of bromide ions on nitrate ion photochemistry were investigated at 298 ± 2 K in air using 311 nm photolysis lamps. Reactions were carried out using NaBr/NaNO(3) and KBr/KNO(3) deposited on the walls of a Teflon chamber. Gas phase halogen products and NO(2) were measured as a function of photolysis time using long path FTIR, NO(y) chemiluminescence and atmospheric pressure ionization mass spectrometry (API-MS). Irradiated NaBr/NaNO(3) mixtures show an enhancement in the rates of production of NO(2) and Br(2) as the bromide mole fraction (χ(NaBr)) increased. However, this was not the case for KBr/KNO(3) mixtures where the rates of production of NO(2) and Br(2) remained constant over all values of χ(KBr). Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations show that the presence of bromide in the NaBr solutions pulls sodium toward the solution surface, which in turn attracts nitrate to the interfacial region, allowing for more efficient escape of NO(2) than in the absence of halides. However, in the case of KBr/KNO(3), bromide ions do not appreciably affect the distribution of nitrate ions at the interface. Clustering of Br(-) with NO(3)(-) and H(2)O predicted by MD simulations for sodium salts may facilitate a direct intermolecular reaction, which could also contribute to higher rates of NO(2) production. Enhanced photochemistry in the presence of halide ions may be important for oxides of nitrogen production in field studies such as in polar snowpacks where the use of quantum yields from laboratory studies in the absence of halide ions would lead to a significant underestimate of the photolysis rates of nitrate ions.