Carleton College:
Chemistry Department

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Research in Deborah Gross's Lab at Carleton College

Atmospheric Chemistry · Analytical Chemistry · Environmental Chemistry

Click here for information about:

Who We Are:

A number of Carleton College students have been part of my research group. Their names, the dates they were involved in aerosol research in my group, and photos are shown here. 

June 2015 – Aug. 2015

Jumaanah Flowers (’16)

Elizabeth Grubb (’17)

Lisa Au (’18)

This is a picture of Jumaanah, Lisa, and Elizabeth  (from left to right) at the East Gate of Peking University in Beijing, China, during our group’s June 2015 trip.

June 2014 – Aug. 2014

Abraham Villarreal (’15)

Aurora Janes (’15)

Ernesto Polania-Gonzalez (’17)


This is a picture of Aurora, Ernesto, and Abe (from left to right) posing with “Wallace,” “Gromit,” and the DustTrak DRX in the lab at Carleton College.


Click here for some action shots from the lab this summer, featuring our new mobile lab!

June 2012 – Aug. 2012

Michael McClellan (’13)

Erin McDuffie (’13)

Summer 2012

This is a picture of Michael and Erin (from left to right) working on “Gromit” in the lab at Carleton College.

June 2011 – Aug. 2011

Alison Smyth (’12)

Michael McClellan (’13)

AS Summer 2010MM Summer 2012

We somehow managed to not get a picture… Here are Alison and Michael in other summers.

June 2010 – Aug. 2010

Sam Thompson (’11)

Alison Smyth (’12)

Summer 2010

This is a picture of Sam and Alison (from left to right) with “Gromit” sampling in Milwaukee, WI during August, 2010.

June 2009 - Aug. 2009

Ross Hamilton ('10)

Sicelo Masango ('10)

Sam Thompson ('11)

Summer 2009

This is a picture of Ross, Sam, and Sicelo (from left to right) with "Gromit" sampling in the hallway outside the lab at Carleton College.

June 2008 - Aug. 2007

Ross Hamilton ('10)

Juan Medrano ('09)

Keven Tell ('09)

Lisa Wang ('10)

Summer 2008

This is a picture of Ross, Keven, Lisa and Juan (from left to right) with "Gromit" in the lab at Carleton College.

June 2007 - Aug.. 2007

Nick Brown ('08)

Claire Liepmann ('09)

Juan Medrano ('09)

This is a picture of Claire, Juan, and Nick (from left to right) with "Gromit" in the lab at Carleton College.

Sept. 2005 - Aug. 2006

Katie Barton ('07)*

John Choiniere ('07)*

*during academic year


Deborah was on sabbatical at the Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry at the Paul Scherrer Insititue, in Villigen Switzerland from Sept. 2005 - Jan. 2006. From February 2006 - Aug. 2006 she was on sabbatical in Peter McMurry's lab in the Particle Technology Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

June 2005 - Sept. 2005:

Andy Ault ('05)

Melanie Yuen ('06)

Katie Barton ('07)

John Choiniere ('07)

This is a picture of Katie, John, Melanie and Andy (from left to right) aligning one of the diode lasers on our ATOFMS instrument ("Gromit") in the lab at Carleton College.

June 2004 - June 2005:

Lexie Schmitt ('04)

Andy Ault ('05)

Melaine Yuen ('06)

This is a picture of Andy, Lexie, and Melanie (from left to right) with our group's ATOFMS instrument "Gromit" in the lab at Carleton College.

June 2003 - June 2004:

Lexie Schmitt ('04)

Renee Frontiera ('04)

Margie Mattmann ('05)


This is a picture of Margie, Renee, and Lexie (from left to right) with our group's ATOFMS instrument "Gromit" in the lab at Carleton College.

June 2002 - June 2003:

Amy Silverberg ('02)

Lexie Schmitt ('04)



This is a picture of Lexie (left) and Amy (right) working with our group's ATOFMS instrument "Gromit", in Atlanta, August 2002. This work was part of the ANARChE study.

June 2001 - June 2002:

Bill Galush ('02)

Amy Silverberg ('02)

This is a picture of Bill (left) and Amy (right) working with the chemistry department's ion-trap mass spectrometer.

June 2000 - June 2001:

Julia Jarvis ('01)

Ellen Sukovich ('01)

This is a picture of Ellen (left) and Julia (right) at the Caldecott Tunnel, August 2000.

June 1999 - June 2000:

Alex Barron ('00)

Ben Warren ('00)

This is a picture of Alex (left)and Ben (right) at the Atlanta SuperSite, August 1999.

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Our Research Interests:

Research in my lab focuses on understanding the properties of aerosol particles in the troposphere. Specifically, we are interested in these factors:

  • size
  • chemical composition
  • source
  • reactivity

We are interested in understanding these aerosol properties on the level of the individual particle, in order to gain a more detailed understanding of the variability of aerosol pollution in the ambient troposphere. Much of our work has been done in collaboration with Professor Kimberly Prather at the University of California, Riverside, who developed the Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS), a transportable instrument capable of measuring size and chemical composition of individual aerosol particles. We have been lucky enough to work with these instruments in the summers of 1999 and 2000.

Since 1999, research in my group has been carried out at Carleton College, at an E.P.A. SuperSite in Atlanta, GA, and in the Caldecott Tunnel in Berkeley, CA. In each of these sites, we have been working with individual aerosol particle data. Brief descriptions and links to relevant sites are given below.

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Where We Do Our Research:

Research in my group has been carried out in a number of locations in addition to the ongoing work we do here at Carleton. Brief information about the two field studies we've participated in is given here. More information will follow, eventually.

SOS  SuperSite in

Atlanta, GA

Summer 1999

We were in Atlanta from late July through the middle of August, for the setup and first half of this "SuperSite" experiment. This site included an amazing array of aerosol measurement, pretty much if you can imagine it, it was there. Our data is giving us insight into the sources of aerosol pollution in Atlanta, as well as the changes these particles undergo in the atmosphere due to chemical reactions.

Caldecott Tunnel Study

Berkeley, CA

Summer 2000

We spent 2.5 weeks in the Caldecott Tunnel in Berkeley, measuring the emissions from the vehicles travelling through it. This is truly one of the best tunnels one could imagine for measuring vehicle emissions, due to the combination of:

  • the traffic patterns in the tunnel which segregate large trucks into only one of two eastbound bores, making it possible to discern the difference between emissions from heavy-duty vehicles (large diesel trucks) and light-duty vehicles (cars)
  • the incredibly cooperative CalTrans employees who work at the tunnel
  • the terrific location, in the beautiful Bay Area, right at the eastern edge of Berkeley, CA.

The eventual goal is to understand the similarities and differences between the emissions from HDV and LDV, under real-world operating conditions.

Watch a QuickTime movie about this research project.

Diesel Engine Measurements at the Engine Research Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Madison, WI

Spring, 2002

For a few weeks in Spring, 2002, Carleton's ATOFMS instrument, Gromit, made measurements in Madison, WI, in collaboration with Jamie Schauer's and David Foster's groups. In addition to measurements of diesel exhaust particles from a research diesel engine, a variety of source characterization experiments were also carried out.

Atlanta - Aerosol Nucleation and Real-time Characterization Experiment (ANARChE), 2002

Atlanta, GA

Summer 2002

During summer 2002, we spent 6 weeks in Atlanta, working with two experiemnts using ATOFMS instruments:

  • Gromit, Carleton's own instrument, monitored the size and chemical composition of ambient aerosol particles from ~0.2 mm to 3 mm continuously from July 23 - August 30, 2002.
  • Wallace, the University of Minnesota instrument (in Pete McMurry's lab, funded by a grant to McMurry, Mike Zachariah of the U of Mn, and Deborah Gross) sampled ambient aerosol that had been preclassified by a Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer (TDMA) and/or an Aerosol Particle Mass Monitor (APM). Both of these instruments are from Pete McMurry's lab. Hygroscopicity and volatility experiments were carried out in the TDMA.

The goal of the experiment is to understand the chemical composition of particles which have different, and known, hygroscopicity, volatility, and mass.

Mercury Roadshow 1

Southern Colorado and Yellowstone National Park

Summer 2003

During summer 2003, we worked with Jamie Schauer's group at UW-Madison and with researchers from the US Geological Survey in Middleton, WI, to characterize the ambient aerosol along side real-time speciated mercury measurements. We hope to understand the composition changes of the ambient aerosol as correlated with changes in concentration of mercury species.

Mercury Roadshow 2

East St. Louis

Winter 2003 - 2004

During winter 2003 - 2004, we deployed the ATOFMS, again along side Jamie Schauer's group and the USGS, at the Supersite faciltiy in East St. Louis (run by Jay Turner from Washington University). Again, we are looking for interesting trends in the ambient aerosol composition, and are comparing to other real time measurements, including speciated mercury.

Research at Carleton College

Norhtfield, MN


When we are not in the field, my research group spends its time analyzing the data collected during field measurement campaigns. This is a very time-consuming task, as each study generates many gigabytes of data from the ATOFMS instrument. Aditional data on aerosol properties (size distributions, total mass, etc.) are also acquired, so there are many variables to correlate. We are actively working with computer scientists at Carleton and at UW-Madison to develop data mining software for atmospheric data sets, including the ATOFMS data.

Mercury Roadshow 3

Mt. Horeb, WI

Summer 2004

During August of 2004, we operated the ATOFMS alongside Jamie Schauer's group and the USGS group in Mt. Horeb, WI. This time, we were located on the property of Mark Olson, one of the USGS scientists. Gromit was run in an old dairybarn.

MS-ChAOS and Smog Chamber Experiments

PSI, Villigen Switzerland

October 2005 - January 2006

During the first half of the 2005-2006 academic year, Gromit travelled to Switzerland! Gromit was operated at the smog chamber in the Laboratory for Atmospheric Chemistry at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland. We studied the secondary organic aerosol produced from the photo-oxidation of volatile organic carbon precursors under a variety of conditions. For some experiments, we were part of a large group of visitors, and many instruments were deployed on the chamber. In other cases, we worked with the students and staff at PSI.


Roveredo, Switzerland

November - December, 2005

While in Switzlerand, Gromit and I participated in the Winter 2005 version of the AEROWOOD study -- a study designed to determine the relative contribution of woodsmoke and vehicle emissions to pollution in various regions of Switzerland. The Roveredo measurements in wintertime take advantage of the strong inversions that are set up in the narrow valley in which Roveredo is located -- the emissions from many woodstoves and the vehicles driving through the valley are essentially trapped all day. Many research groups were participating in this PSI-led study.

Biomass Combustion Studies

University of Minnesota

February - August, 2006

After returning to the US, Gromit and I moved in at the University of Minnesota, where we participated in a variety of measurements campaigns, all of which focus on biofuels of one kind or another:

  • Measurements of emissions from wood and corn burning stoves
  • Measurements of emissions from a diesel engine running fuel mixtures of diesel/biodiesel
  • Measurements of emissions from a spark-ignition engine running fuel mixtures of gasoline/ethanol
  • Measurements of emissions from meat cooking (to be done during Fall, 2006)

Focusing on Energy (FOE)

Milwaukee, WI

July - August, 2010

During the summer of 2010, we participated in the Focusing on Energy (FOE) study in Milwaukee, WI, with Prof. Jamie Schauer's group. We analyzed particles for ~5 weeks and we will continue to work with Prof. Schauer and Prof. de Foy at St. Louis University on efforts to model the combined data.

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Publications and Presentations:

Please see my CV for a full list of research presentations and publications.

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This page is created and maintained by Deborah S. Gross.
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