Aerosols are of central importance for the atmosphere, biosphere, climate, and public health. The airborne solid and liquid particles in the nanometer to micrometer size range influence the energy balance of the Earth, the hydrological cycle, atmospheric circulation, and the abundance of greenhouse and reactive trace gases. Moreover, they play important roles in the reproduction of biological organisms and can cause or enhance human, animal and plant diseases (Fig. 1).
Aerosol research has a long and successful tradition in Mainz, where multiple departments and research groups at the Max Planck Institutes and the Johannes Gutenberg University have been and continue to be at the forefront of international scientific progress since several decades. The focal points of current research include: biological, organic and carbonaceous particles (soot, black/brown carbon); anthropogenic and biogenic sources; primary emission, secondary formation and transport on regional and global scales; multiphase chemical reactions, phase transitions, and the activation of cloud condensation and ice nuclei; aerosol optical properties, light absorption, scattering, and fluorescence; interactions of aerosols, clouds and precipitation; direct and indirect aerosol effects on climate and public health. The research activities comprise the development and application of advanced measurement techniques, laboratory experiments, field measurements, remote sensing, and mathematical modeling.