Aerosol Isotopes: Tracing Sources and Atmospheric Processing


Carbon isotope studies have become increasingly important for the source apportionment of carbonaceous aerosols. 14C analysis is by now a widely used source apportionment method that provides a clear cut-separation between fossil (e.g., coal combustion, vehicular emissions) and contemporary (e.g., biomass burning, biogenic emissions, cooking) sources with an accuracy that is inaccessible to other source apportionment methods. 13C analysis on aerosols is an emerging field that can provide additional constraints to better characterize emission sources and increase the general understanding of physical and chemical processing of primary organic aerosol as well as of secondary organic aerosol formation.

We analysis samples from clean marine air to the polluted urban air, with active collaboration with Centre for Isotope Research, University of Groningen.  Our isotope studies of carbonaceous aerosols have been published in high quality journals including Nature (Huang et al., 2014), Environment International (Ni et al., 2022), Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Ni et al., 2020), Science of the total Environment (Yao et al., 2022), etc. Ongoing research in Huang’s group focuses on developing novel methods to study oxygen and nitrogen isotopes, to further apply these methods to study pollution in China.