Role of iodine oxoacids in atmospheric aerosol nucleation


Iodic acid (HIO3) is known to form aerosol particles in coastal marine regions, but predicted nucleation and growth rates are lacking. Using the CERN CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets) chamber, we find that the nucleation rates of HIO3 particles are rapid, even exceeding sulfuric acid-ammonia rates under similar conditions. We also find that ion-induced nucleation involves IO3- and the sequential addition of HIO3 and that it proceeds at the kinetic limit below +10 degrees C. In contrast, neutral nucleation involves the repeated sequential addition of iodous acid (HIO2) followed by HIO3, showing that HIO2 plays a key stabilizing role. Freshly formed particles are composed almost entirely of HIO3, which drives rapid particle growth at the kinetic limit. Our measurements indicate that iodine oxoacid particle formation can compete with sulfuric acid in pristine regions of the atmosphere.