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Ice nucleation abilities of soot particles determined with the Horizontal Ice Nucleation Chamber

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Mahrt Fabian, Marcolli Claudia, David Robert O., Grönquist Philippe, Barthazy Meier Eszter J., Lohmann Ulrike, Kanji Zamin A.,
Project Elucidating Ice Nucleation Mechanisms Relevant to the Atmosphere: Is deposition nucleation really immersion freezing in pores?
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume (Issue) 18(18)
Page(s) 13363 - 13392
Title of proceedings Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
DOI 10.5194/acp-18-13363-2018

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Abstract. Ice nucleation by different types of soot particles is systematically investigated over the temperature range from 218 to 253 K relevant for both mixed-phase (MPCs) and cirrus clouds. Soot types were selected to represent a range of physicochemical properties associated with combustion particles. Their ice nucleation ability was determined as a function of particle size using relative humidity (RH) scans in the Horizontal Ice Nucleation Chamber (HINC). We complement our ice nucleation results by a suite of particle characterization measurements, including determination of particle surface area, fractal dimension, temperature-dependent mass loss (ML), water vapor sorption and inferred porosity measurements. Independent of particle size, all soot types reveal absence of ice nucleation below and at water saturation in the MPC regime (T>235 K). In the cirrus regime (T≤235 K), soot types show different freezing behavior depending on particle size and soot type, but the freezing is closely linked to the soot particle properties. Specifically, our results suggest that if soot aggregates contain mesopores (pore diameters of 2–50 nm) and have sufficiently low water–soot contact angles, they show ice nucleation activity and can contribute to ice formation in the cirrus regime at RH well below homogeneous freezing of solution droplets. We attribute the observed ice nucleation to a pore condensation and freezing (PCF) mechanism. Nevertheless, soot particles without cavities of the right size and/or too-high contact angles nucleate ice only at or well above the RH required for homogeneous freezing conditions of solution droplets. Thus, our results imply that soot particles able to nucleate ice via PCF could impact the microphysical properties of ice clouds.