Atmospheric Oxidation Mechanisms
The problem of photochemical air pollution remains a serious threat to human health and welfare today. Ozone, the primary component of photochemical smog, forms at ground-level by the interaction of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds emitted from transportation and industrial activities. Ozone is highly toxic to both plants and animals, impairing respiratory functions by causing inflammation and scarring of lung tissue. The difficulty associated with control of photochemical smog on any scale lies in the fact that ozone is a secondary pollutant. Control strategies thus require an understanding the chemistry leading to its production.
In contrast to outdoors, the chemistry of the indoor environment is poorly understood. Given that people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, improving our understanding of the factors that control indoor air quality is important in order to assess risk factors associated with exposures to indoor air pollutants.
Our research involves both laboratory studies and field measurements designed to improve our understanding of the complex chemistry of the atmosphere.