LAC - Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry
The Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry (LAC), established 1 January 2000, is a laboratory of the Energy and Environment Research Division (ENE) at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI).
Understanding the processes determining the gas and aerosol chemistry and aerosol physics in the atmosphere in order to determine (1) the impact of energy use on the atmosphere and (2) the impact of pollution on air quality, human health, local weather and climate change.
Our laboratory consists of four interacting groups that operates cutting-edge facilities and instrumentations in the lab and in the field. We run three National facilities, two ambient observatories and an atmospheric chamber facility, that are foreseen to be included in the ACTRIS European research infrastructure. We study the impact of anthropogenic air pollution across environments ranging from cities in Europe and developing countries (e.g. India and China) to pristine areas (e.g. in polar regions and in the free troposphere). We are continuously measuring key climate variables relevant for aerosol properties at the landmark high-alpine Jungfraujoch research site in Switzerland. We simulate the processes occurring in the atmosphere in our smog chamber facility and during experiments at the CLOUD chamber at CERN. Field and laboratory data are interpreted and air pollution sources are quantified with numerical and statistical models. We collaborate with toxicologists, epidemiologists and medical doctors to understand the impact of air pollution on health.
News & Highlights
The composition of particulate matter can influence its harmfulness to human health just as much as the amount, PSI researchers show in a newly published study. Experiments and computational modelling showed that in Europe high concentrations of particulate matter harmful to human health occur mainly in metropolitan areas.
An international team of scientists has identified a novel driver of new aerosol particle formation in the Arctic: iodic acid, a chemical compound, which had not previously been observed in the region.
Newly discovered rapid particle growth rates may be the answer to the mystery of aerosol formation in urban smog
Aerosols, suspended particles or droplets, play a key role in Earth’s atmosphere’s energy balance. They can also result in smog formation in cities, which leads to low visibility and serious health risks for the population. A recent study published in Nature outlines a newly discovered mechanism that may play a key role in the continued survival of particles in wintertime smog.