Laboratory of Atmospheric Physical Chemistry

Skidmore College

Recent News:

May 29

The group welcomes Grace Freeman-Gallant and Raymi Ramirez.

May 19

Congratulations Chris Ostaszewski, Natalie Stuart and Deborah Kim on graduating!







































Research Projects

Particulate matter plays significant roles in the chemistry and physics of the lower atmosphere. In combination with sunlight, these particles can initiate interesting chemistry. The Laboratory of Atmospheric Physical Chemistry uses creative new experiments to explore the effect of aerosols in the atmosphere in the presence of solar radiation. These experiments can be summarized in the following projects:

Heterogeneous Photochemistry

The interaction of light with aerosol particles can open pathways for additional chemical reactions. This project studies the interaction of light with aerosol surfaces.


We have recently explored how surface reactivity on aerosols affects the nitrogen cycle, with important implications in climate. We are now investigating the photosensitization of nitrates by humic substances in the atmosphere.

Aerosol Dissolution

Atmospheric particles can also change during heterogeneous reactions, getting dissolved in atmospheric water (rain, fog, clouds, etc.).


Ash particles reach the atmosphere from different sources, where they can get dissolved in atmospheric water (rain, fog, clouds, etc.). We are investigating the effect of solar radiation in the leach of metals into atmospheric water from ash particles.

Computational Chemistry

The Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory uses quantum mechanics to model the chemical reactions taking place on the surface of aerosols.


The image above corresponds to energy minimized structures of nitrates adsorbed onto titanium dioxide particles. With this theoretical approach, we can answer questions such as: How does an atmospheric gas binds onto an aerosol surface? How will the spectral features change when a gas is adsorbed onto a particle surface?

Plasma Chemistry

Free radicals are common reactive species in the atmosphere. We use a state-of-the-art plasma chemistry reactor ("The Cube") to simulate the reaction of OH with chemisorbed organics on components of mineral dust


We are combining the knowledge from the plasma-surface experiments and the heterogeneous photochemistry experiments to better understand aerosol processing.