NSYSU Launches the First Aerosol Science Research Center in Asia
First Image from left: SYS Ventures Chairman Hsin-Lu Liu, NSYSU Alumni Association President Tsai-Hsin Cheng, NSYSU Vice President for Research & Development Hsien-Hua Lee, NSYSU Vice President Shiow-Fon Tsay, NSYSU Former President Hung-Duen Yang, NSYSU ASRC Director Chia Chen Wang, NSYSU President Ying-Yao Cheng, Environmental Protection Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government Director Meng-Yu Tsai, Institute of Atomic and Molecular Sciences, Academia Sinica Professor Jim Jr-Min Lin, NSYSU Institute of Environmental Engineering Director Kang-Shin Chen, NSYSU Vice President for Industrial Collaboration and Continuing Education Affairs Zhi-Hong Wen
Echoing Taiwan government’s strategies on particulate matters (PM) 2.5 and declaration to devote 3 trillion dollars on energy transition plans, NSYSU has just launched the first Aerosol Science Research Center (ASRC) in Asia with a spectacular inauguration.
Chia Chen Wang, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Director of the ASRC, has had a breakthrough in the research of PM2.5. Through the use of domestically developed high-resolution aerosol vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) photoelectron spectroscopy, Wang finds that the surface pH of aqueous nanoaerosols is more acidic than that of the bulk interior. Moreover, Wang finds that when some organic species (such as phenolic) become in contact and mixed with the aqueous nanodroplets, their valence electronic properties and corresponding redox-based chemical activities vary with the pH condition where they reside, which in turn may cause different levels of impacts on public health and the environment. This significant research finding has been published in the internationally renowned journal, Journal of Physical Chemistry.
Aerosols are broadly defined as ultrafine particulate matters (PM) suspended in the air, while PM2.5 is the specific term referred to aerosols with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 μm or less. Aerosols in the atmosphere may be formed via different resources and chemical transformation processes as well as the ambient environment where they reside and are often comprised of multiple components.
Wang mentioned that the strong and positive correlation between the overall level of aerosols and premature mortality had been confirmed. However, it is not possible to resolve the PM2.5 issue simply by monitoring the overall PM2.5 concentration without a detailed understanding of their chemical compositions and sources. It necessitates fundamental and in-depth knowledge regarding the chemical activities and reaction properties of aerosols of varying chemical composition for one to clarify the impacts of particular aerosols to the environment and public health, and eventually develop strategies to resolve this crucial issue.
By employing the recently developed high-resolution aerosol VUV photoelectron spectroscopy, Wang recently finds that aqueous nanoaerosols, such as minute aqueous droplets which form clouds, possess remarkably different liquid/vapor interfacial structural properties, pH value, and physico-chemical properties than their bulk liquid state. Since the valence electronic properties of aerosols, which play a determinant role in their redox-based chemical activities, are under the influence of pH of the environment where they reside, once these aqueous nanoaerosols are mixed with other chemical species generated or released from various anthropogenic activities, they will have different levels of impacts on the atmospheric structure, living environment, and public health.
For instance, even for two cities with the same level of aerosols, the rates for them to induce respiratory, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases may vary tremendously, due to the distinct sources and chemical compositions of the aerosols formed in the two cities, Wang said. It is, therefore, crucial and essential to clarify the fundamental physical and chemical properties of aerosols; the study of the fundamental science of aerosols is currently a major endeavor of research in the aerosol science field for many world-renowned academic and research institutes globally.
NSYSU President Ying-Yao Cheng expressed that the establishment of the ASRC is to provide a platform to integrate all disciplines related to the issue of aerosols, including the aerosol fundamental science, and the impacts of aerosols on the atmosphere, oceans, ecological environment, and public health to the potential implications of aerosols in the biomedical science. By doing so, scientist and experts from all aerosol-related fields, in Chemistry, Physics, Biomedical Science, Public Health, Environmental Engineering, Marine Science, and Education may engage in constant dialogues and may exchange ideas regularly.
In addition, the ASRC will proactively promote the academia-industry collaboration, strengthen the connections with domestic industry, and encourage a circular economy and value creation related to the aerosol science. Considering that the aerosol issue has become a major global issue of concern, the ASRC has already formed an international advisory committee board, with numerous internationally renowned experts and scholars. The ASRC also plans to actively promote and establish international collaborations with major aerosol research institutes and industries.