Title of PhD: Sources and Properties of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the UK atmosphere
Supervisors: Professor Roy Harrison, Dr William Bloss
My research focuses on the sources, behavior and fate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a toxic and potentially carcinogenic class of air pollutant, in the atmosphere. I am interested in estimating the relative contribution of direct combustion emissions and atmospheric reactions to the observed levels of nitro-PAH and oxy-PAH derivative compounds in the atmosphere. I am taking air samples in Birmingham and analyzing them for levels of PAHs as well as nitro- and oxy- derivatives. The levels of these compounds in the atmosphere can then be compared with reaction kinetics data to produce an estimate of the role of secondary reactions vs direct emissions. Computer modeling of these data can also be used to produce an estimate for the concentrations of these compounds.