Ions can speed up the formation of aerosol particles. The former studies have mainly concerned on the role of the ion charge itself. We have studied the possible (additional) role of the actual small air ion spectrum shape, and the quantitative role of ion-ion recombination pathway. By means of our ion evolution model, formation of new species (H2SO4)(n)(NH3)(m)(HNO3)(k) via ion-ion recombination was investigated. The model shows how the generation rate of the new species depends on the concentrations of H2SO4 and NH3, and how it depends on the tropospheric background aerosol situation. The rate can be up to a few new neutral complexes per cubic centimeter and per second. New particle generation via ion-ion recombination provides an extra channel, especially for the clean atmosphere. Former results have shown that such situations are often present in Antarctica. Our aerosol spectrum measurements reveal a number of similar non-Antarctic results. Sometimes, such situations are followed by aerosol bursts, which may be (partly) due to an ion-ion recombination channel. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.