Production and measurement of organic particulate matter in the harvard environmental chamber

Yue Zhang*, Zhaoheng Gong, Suzane de Sa, Adam P. Bateman, Yingjun Liu, Yongjie Li, Franz M. Geiger, Scot T. Martin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The production and the evolution of atmospheric organic particulate matter (PM) are insufficiently understood for accurate simulations of atmospheric chemistry and climate. The complex production mechanisms and reaction pathways make this a challenging research topic. To address these issues, an environmental chamber, providing enough residence time and close-to-ambient concentrations of precursors for secondary organic materials, is needed. The Harvard Environmental Chamber (HEC) was built to serve this need, simulating the production of gas and particle phase species from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The HEC has a volume of 4.7 m 3 and a mean residence time of 3.4 h under typical operating conditions. It is operated as a completely mixed flow reactor (CMFR), providing the possibility of indefinite steady-state operation across days for sample collection and data analysis. The operation procedures are described in detail in this article. Several types of instrumentation are used to characterize the produced gas and particles. A High-Resolution Time-of-Fight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) is used to characterize particles. A Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometer (PTR-MS) is used for gaseous analysis. Example results are presented to show the use of the environmental chamber in a wide variety of applications related to the physicochemical properties and reaction mechanisms of organic atmospheric particulate matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere55685
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number141
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS)
  • Environmental chamber
  • Environmental sciences
  • Issue 141
  • Particulate matter (PM)
  • Proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS)
  • Secondary organic aerosol (SOA)
  • Secondary organic material (SOM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Production and measurement of organic particulate matter in the harvard environmental chamber'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this