Date Awarded

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.Sc.)




Nathanael Kidwell

Committee Member

Christopher J. Abelt

Committee Member

Rachel O'Brien


Atmospheric aerosols are made up of suspended liquids and solids in the atmosphere. These aerosols play a very important role in the solar energy exchange in Earth’s atmosphere as well have dramatic impact on human health. Different aerosols have different effects on the atmosphere depending on the physical properties of the aerosols.

The purpose of this research project is to understand how the structure of molecular chromophores impacts the solar absorption properties of aerosols. We propose a series of laboratory studies to investigate the outcomes from solar absorption of brown carbon chromophores: 1-phenylpyrrole, 2-phenyl-1-H-pyrrole, 2-phenylimadazole, as well as water complexes. Ultimately, we aim to reveal molecular-level insights into solar absorption processes of aerosols.

Many forms of experimental analysis were performed on the compounds of interest. UV-Vis spectroscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy were used to provide useful information for further analysis such as the region in which the compound fluoresces and the compounds affinity to water for water complex analysis. These compounds were further analyzed using resonant two-photon ionization (R2PI) spectroscopy and computational methods to determine structural characteristics of the compounds with and without water complexes.



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