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Pure Appl. Chem., 2001, Vol. 73, No. 3, pp. 487-490

Important photochemical processes in the atmosphere

Geert K. Moortgat

Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie, Atmospheric Chemistry Department, P.O. Box 3060, D-55020 Mainz, Germany

Abstract: Among the many important roles played by ozone in the atmosphere is the role it plays in the generation of OH radicals, which are responsible for initiating the oxidation of a wide variety of atmospheric trace constituents. The OH production occurs dominantly from the formation of the excited O(1D) species in the UV photolysis of ozone, followed by the reaction of O(1D) with H2O vapor. The photochemistry of ozone is very complex, as the relatively weak bonds in ozone allow different states of the O and O2 photoproducts to be accessed. Recent detailed studies have now revealed that different photolysis channels are occurring in the 290­375 nm spectral range, the region of importance for the generation of OH radicals in the lower atmosphere. The measured temperature-dependent quantum yields for the production of O(1D) atoms reflect the importance of the longer "wavelength tail" formation with regard to the enhanced OH production. Other significant atmospheric photolysis processes involving carbonyl compounds are reported. Direct photodissociation rates were measured in the outdoor photoreactor EUPHORE in Valencia and compared with model calculations. For most of the carbonyl compounds the effective quantum yields are significantly below unity.