Abstract We report on studies of ion-induced nucleation in a corona discharge taking place in an atmosphere containing SO2, NH3, and H2O at standard temperature and pressure. Positive ions such as H3O+(H2O)n, NH4+(H2O)n, and H+(H2SO4)(H2O)n and negative ions such as HSO5-(H2O)n, SO4-(H2O)n, HSO4-(H2O)n and NO3-(H2O)n have been recorded. Large values of n (>100) were observed and the experiment indicates the existence of even larger water clusters. In contrast, only clusters with a maximum of 2 sulfuric acid molecules were observed. Fragmentation studies also revealed that the negative ion HSO5-, which has been observed in many studies, in our experiments is contaminated by O2-(HNO3)(H2O) ions, and this may also have been the case in other experiments. Finally an ion with m/z = 232 (where m is the cluster mass in amu and z is the charge state), capable of attaching H2O-molecules was observed and studied by fragmentation.
International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, 2013, Vol 341-342, p. 1-6