Understanding critical nucleus in haze formation

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Washington, June 17 (ANI): A new research by a Texan professor could pave the way for better understanding of aerosol formation, or haze - which represents a major environmental problem.

Atmospheric aerosols - microscopic particles suspended in the Earth's atmosphere degrade visibility, affect human health and influence the climate.

However, till now, no clear explanation of its formation has been found.

Now Professor Renyi Zhang of Texas A and M University seems to have found an answer.

The interaction between organic acids and sulphuric acid can facilitate the crossing of an energy barrier called nucleation barrier, by forming a nucleus. Once the barrier is crossed, aerosol formation can happen spontaneously.

Therefore, scientists need to predict the nucleation rate based on knowledge of the composition of the critical nucleus, Zhang explains.

This knowledge can be obtained by combining theoretical approaches with "measurements of the size and chemical composition of freshly nucleated nanoparticles in the laboratory and in the field," Zhang notes.

Understanding and eventually controlling aerosol formation may help the environment, benefit human health and improve climate prediction, he says.

The findings are published in the June 11 issue of Science magazine. (ANI)

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