Palmitic acid on salt subphases and in mixed monolayers of cerebrosides: Application to atmospheric aerosol chemistry

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Ellen M. Adams - , Ohio State University (Author)
  • Heather C. Allen - , Ohio State University (Author)


Palmitic acid (PA) has been found to be a major constituent in marine aerosols, and is commonly used to investigate organic containing atmospheric aerosols, and is therefore used here as a proxy system. Surface pressure-area isotherms (φ-A), Brewster angle microscopy (BAM), and vibrational sum frequency generation (VSFG) were used to observe a PA monolayer during film compression on subphases of ultrapure water, cacla2 and Macla2 aqueous solutions, and artificial seawater (ASW). φ-A isotherms indicate that salt subphases alter the phase behavior of PA, and BAM further reveals that a condensation of the monolayer occurs when compared to pure water. VSFG spectra and BAM images show that Mg2+ and Ca2+ induce ordering of the PA acyl chains, and it was determined that the interaction of Mg2+ with the monolayer is weaker than Ca2+. φ-A isotherms and BAM were also used to monitor mixed monolayers of PA and cerebroside, a simple glycolipid. Results reveal that PA also has a condensing effect on the cerebroside monolayer. Thermodynamic analysis indicates that attractive interactions between the two components exist; this may be due to hydrogen bonding of the galactose and carbonyl headgroups. BAM images of the collapse structures show that mixed monolayers of PA and cerebroside are miscible at all surface pressures. These results suggest that the surface morphology of organic-coated aerosols is influenced by the chemical composition of the aqueous core and the organic film itself.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-336
Number of pages22
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-8120-8553/work/161409579


Sustainable Development Goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Aerosol, Brewster angle microscopy, Cerebroside, Monolayers, Palmitic acid, Sum frequency generation