Chemical composition and morphology of individual aerosol particles from a CARIBIC flight at 10 km altitude between 50 degrees N and 30 degrees S

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Analysis of individual particles by analytical electron microscopy as well as quantitative analysis using particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) and particle elastic scattering analysis (PESA) were carried out on samples collected from a flight at 10 km altitude between 50 degrees N and 30 degrees S as part of the Civil Aircraft for Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container (CARIBIC) project ( Particle morphology showed large variability with sampling latitude. Complicated branched structures dominated the large particles of the extratropical northern and southern hemisphere and the northern tropics. Particles in the tropics of the southern hemisphere were small in size and large in number concentration, whereas particles in or close to the intertropical convergence zone were few and small in size. Particles in the lowermost stratosphere were found to have similar structures but more branched than the ones found in the upper troposphere of the extratropics. Quantitative analysis revealed that the sulfur concentration varied by a factor of 50 in the nine samples analyzed in this study. The carbon-to-sulfur mass concentration ratio was lowest in the lowermost stratosphere (0.5) and highest in the tropics of the southern hemisphere (3.5). The elemental distribution of carbon and sulfur in individual particles was mapped by energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy (EFTEM). Almost all particles analyzed contained a mixture of carbonaceous and sulfurous matter. Particles with satellites were found by EFTEM to contain both carbon and sulfur in the central particle, whereas in the satellite particles only carbonaceous material was detected.


  • Hung Nguyen Ngoc
  • Bengt Martinsson
  • Jakob Wagner
  • Eric Carlemalm
  • M. Ebert
  • S. Weinbruch
  • C. A. M. Brenninkmeijer
  • J. Heintzenberg
  • M. Hermann
  • T. Schuck
  • P. F. J. van Velthoven
  • A. Zahn
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberD23
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Electron Microscopy Unit (013100002), Polymer and Materials Chemistry (LTH) (011001041), Nuclear Physics (Faculty of Technology) (011013007)