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Staff information


M Lizabeth Alexander

Environmental Dynamics & Simulations
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K8-88
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Alexander is internationally recognized for her contributions in the fields of proton-transfer reaction mass spectrometry and aerosol mass spectrometry and in the application of those techniques in measurements in atmospheric chemistry, materials research and analytical chemistry. Dr. Alexander’s research has also encompassed fundamental processes involved in laser ablation of samples for chemical analysis. Knowledge gained from these basic studies continues to be applied to the development and deployment of new mass spectrometry instrumentation, incorporating ion trap, quadrupole, magnetic sector and time-of-flight techniques with laser ablation and other novel sample introduction methods for detection of trace levels of target compounds. A critical part of Dr. Alexander’s career achievements has been in the role as PI on a number of successful proposals targeted toward the DOE, DOD, DHS and industrial clients. She has participated and led several large team efforts in applying aspects of her research including the development, installation and validation of a laser-ablation system elemental analysis of the radioactive waste stream fed to the verification facility at Hanford, deployment of multiple monitoring sites for air quality in Houston and at sites near Mexico City.

Research Interests

  • Mass Spectrometry - chemical ionization, proton transfer reaction and aerosol, isotope ratio methods; fundamental studies and applications
  • Aerosol Sciences - formation mechanisms in the atmosphere and in laboratory and industrial processes and instrumentation for the measurement of the size and composition of aerosols
  • Laser Ablation Processes - details of laser-surface interactions, plume formation mechanisms and applications to analytical chemistry

Education and Credentials

  • 1987 PhD, Chemical Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • 1979 BS, Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Member, American Association for Aerosol Research
  • Member, American Geophysical Union

Awards and Recognitions

  • Fitzner-Eberhart Award Nominee, 2001
  • DOE Outstanding Mentor Award, 2002

PNNL Publications


  • Bateman AP, ZH Gong, T Harder, S de Sa, B Wang, P Castillo, S China, YJ Liu, R O'Brien, BB Palm, HW Shiu, G Cirino, RM Thalman, K Adachi, ML Alexander, P Artaxo, AK Bertram, PR Buseck, MK Gilles, JL Jimenez, A Laskin, A Manzi, AJ Sedlacek, III, RA Souza, J Wang, RA Zaveri, and ST Martin. 2017. "Anthropogenic influences on the physical state of submicron particulate matter over a tropical forest." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17(3):1759-1773.  doi:10.5194/acp-17-1759-2017
  • de Sa S, BB Palm, P Campuzano-Jost, D Day, MK Newburn, W Hu, G Isaacman-VanWertz, LD Yee, RM Thalman, J Brito, S Carbone, P Artaxo, AH Goldstein, A Manzi, RA Souza, F Mei, JE Shilling, SR Springston, J Wang, JD Surratt, ML Alexander, JL Jimenez, and ST Martin. 2017. "Influence of urban pollution on the production of organic particulate matter from isoprene epoxydiols in central Amazonia." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17(11):6611-6629.  doi:10.5194/acp-17-6611-2017
  • Zelenyuk-Imre A, D Imre, JM Wilson, DM Bell, KJ Suski, MKB Shrivastava, J Beranek, ML Alexander, AL Kramer, and SL Massey Simonich. 2017. "The Effect of Gas-phase Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons on the Formation and Properties of Biogenic Secondary Organic Aerosol Particles." Faraday Discussions 200:143-164.  doi:10.1039/C7FD00032D


  • Moran JJ, ML Alexander, and A Laskin. 2016. "Soil Carbon: Compositional and Isotopic Analysis." In Encyclopedia of Soil Science, 3rd Edition, ed. R Lal.  CRC Press, BOCA RATON, FL. 
  • Hu W, BB Palm, DA Day, P Campuzano-Jost, JE Krechmer, Z Peng, S de Sa, ST Martin, ML Alexander, K Baumann, L Hacker, A Kiendler-Scharr, A Koss, JA de Gouw, AH Goldstein, R Seco, SJ Sjostedt, JH Park, AB Guenther, S Kim, F Canonaco, ASH Prevot, WH Brune, and JL Jimenez. 2016. "Volatility and lifetime against OH heterogeneous reaction of ambient isoprene-epoxydiols-derived secondary organic aerosol (IEPOX-SOA)." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 16(18):11563-11580.  doi:10.5194/acp-16-11563-2016
  • Isaacman-VanWertz G, LD Yee, NM Kreisberg, R Wernis, JA Moss, SV Hering, S de Sa, ST Martin, ML Alexander, BB Palm, W Hu, P Campuzano-Jost, D Day, JL Jimenez, M Riva, JD Surratt, J Viegas, A Manzi, ES Edgerton, K Baumann, RA Souza, P Artaxo, and AH Goldstein. 2016. "Ambient Gas-Particle Partitioning of Tracers for Biogenic Oxidation." Environmental Science & Technology 50(18):9952-9962.  doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b01674
  • Mahoney CM, RT Kelly, ML Alexander, MK Newburn, SP Bader, RG Ewing, AJ Fahey, DA Atkinson, and N Beagley. 2016. "Bayesian Integration and Characterization of Composition C-4 Plastic Explosives Based on Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry and Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry." Analytical Chemistry 88(7):3598-3607.  doi:10.1021/acs.analchem.5b04151


  • Lance S, T Raatikainen, TB Onasch, DR Worsnop, XY Yu, ML Alexander, M Stolzenberg, P McMurry, JN Smith, and A Nenes. 2013. "Aerosol mixingstate, hygroscopic growth and cloud activation efficiency during MIRAGE 2006." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 13(9):5049-5062.  doi:10.5194/acp-13-5049-2013
  • Shilling JE, RA Zaveri, JD Fast, LI Kleinman, ML Alexander, MR Canagaratna, E Fortner, JM Hubbe, JT Jayne, A Sedlacek, A Setyan, S Springston, DR Worsnop, and Q Zhang. 2013. "Enhanced SOA formation from mixed anthropogenic and biogenic emissions during the CARES campaign." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 13(4):2091-2113.  doi:10.5194/acp-13-2091-2013


  • Kelly JF, RL Sams, TA Blake, MK Newburn, JJ Moran, ML Alexander, and HW Kreuzer. 2012. "A Capillary Absorption Spectrometer for Stable Carbon Isotope Ratio (13C/12C) Analysis in Very Small Samples." Review of Scientific Instruments 83(2):Article No. 023101.  doi:10.1063/1.3680593
  • Perraud VM, EA Bruns, MJ Ezell, SN Johnson, Y Yu, ML Alexander, A Zelenyuk, D Imre, WL Chang, D Dabdub, JF Pankow, and BJ Finlayson-Pitts. 2012. "Nonequilibrium Atmospheric Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation and Growth." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(8):2836-2841.  doi:10.1073/pnas.1119909109


  • Moran JJ, MK Newburn, ML Alexander, RL Sams, JF Kelly, and HW Kreuzer. 2011. "Laser ablation isotope ratio mass spectrometry for enhanced sensitivity and spatial resolution in stable isotope analysis." Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 25(9):1282-1290.  doi:10.1002/rcm.4985
  • Anheier NC, Jr, JT Munley, and ML Alexander. 2011. "Design of an Unattended Environmental Aerosol Sampling and Analysis System for Gaseous Centrifuge Enrichment Plants." In Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, July 17-21, 2011, Palm Desert, California.  Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Deerfield, IL. 
  • Berkowitz CM, LK Berg, XY Yu, ML Alexander, A Laskin, RA Zaveri, BT Jobson, E Andrews, and JA Ogren. 2011. "The Influence of Fog and Airmass History on Aerosol Optical, Physical and Chemical Properties at Pt. Reyes National Seashore." Atmospheric Environment 45(15):2259-2568.  doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.02.016
  • Song C, RA Zaveri, JE Shilling, ML Alexander, and MK Newburn. 2011. "Effect of Hydrophilic Organic Seed Aerosols on Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation from Ozonolysis of a-Pinene ." Environmental Science & Technology 45(17):7323-7329.  doi:10.1021/es201225c


  • Bruns E, V Perraud, A Zelenyuk, MJ Ezell, SN Johnson, Y Yu, D Imre, BJ Finlayson-Pitts, and ML Alexander. 2010. "Comparison of FTIR and Particle Mass Spectrometry for the Measurement of Paticulate Organic Nitrates." Environmental Science & Technology 44(3):1056-1061.  doi:10.1021/es9029864
  • Ezell MJ, SN Johnson, Y Yu, V Perraud, E Bruns, ML Alexander, A Zelenyuk, D Dabdub, and BJ Finlayson-Pitts. 2010. "A New Aerosol Flow System for Photochemical and Thermal Studies of Tropospheric Aerosols." Aerosol Science and Technology 44(5):329-338.  doi:10.1080/02786821003639700
  • Jobson BT, RM Volkamer, E Velasco, G Allwine, HH Westberg, BK Lamb, ML Alexander, CM Berkowitz, and LT Molina. 2010. "Comparison of Aromatic Hydrocarbon Measurements made by PTR-MS, DOAS and GC-FID during the MCMA 2003 Field Experiment." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 10(4):1989-2005. 
  • Zelenyuk A, MJ Ezell, V Perraud, SN Johnson, E Bruns, Y Yu, D Imre, ML Alexander, and BJ Finlayson-Pitts. 2010. "Characterization of Organic Coatings on Hygroscopic Salt Particles and their Atmospheric Impacts." Atmospheric Environment 44(9):1209-1218.  doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.11.047


  • Cross E, TB Onasch, M Canagaratna, JT Jayne, J Kimmel, XY Yu, ML Alexander, DR Worsnop, and P Davidovits. 2009. "Single particle characterization using a light scattering module coupled to a time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 9(20):7769-7793. 
  • de Gouw JA, D Welsh-Bon, C Warneke, WC Kuster, ML Alexander, AK Baker, AJ Beyersdorf, DR Blake, MR Canagaratna, AT Celada, LG Huey, W Junkermann, TB Onasch, A Salcido, SJ Sjostedt, A Sullivan, DJ Tanner, L Vargas-Ortiz, RJ Weber, DR Worsnop, XY Yu, and RA Zaveri. 2009. "Emission and Chemistry of Organic Carbon in the Gas and Aerosol Phase at a Sub-Urban Site Near Mexico City in March 2006 During the MILAGRO Study." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 9(10):3425-3442. 
  • Fast JD, A Aiken, JD Allan, ML Alexander, T Campos, MR Canagaratna, EG Chapman, P DeCarlo, B de Foy, J Gaffney, JA de Gouw, JC Doran, L Emmons, A Hodzic, SC Herndon, LG Huey, JT Jayne, JL Jimenez, LI Kleinman, WC Kuster, NA Marley, LM Russell, C Ochoa, TB Onasch, MS Pekour, C Song, IM Ulbrich, C Warneke, D Welsh-Bon, C Wiedinmyer, DR Worsnop, XY Yu, and RA Zaveri. 2009. "Evaluating Simulated Primary Anthropogenic and Biomass Burning Organic Aerosols during MILAGRO: Implications for Assessing Treatments of Secondary Organic Aerosols." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 9(16):6191-6215. 
  • Kleinman LI, SR Springston, JX Wang, PH Daum, YN Lee, LJ Nunnermacker, G Senum, J Weinstein-Lloyd, ML Alexander, JM Hubbe, JV Ortega, RA Zaveri, MR Canagaratna, and JT Jayne. 2009. "The Time Evolution of Aerosol Size Distribution Over the Mexico City Plateau." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 9(13):4261-4278. 
  • Spicer CW, MW Holdren, KA Cowen, DW Joseph, JR Satola, BP Goodwin, H Mayfield, A Laskin, ML Alexander, JV Ortega, MK Newburn, RH Kagann, and RA Hashmonay. 2009. "Rapid Measurement of Emissions from Military Aircraft Turbine Engines by Downstream Extractive Sampling of Aircraft on the Ground: Results for C-130 and F-15 Aircraft." Atmospheric Environment 43(16):2612-2622.  doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.02.012
  • Yu Y, ML Alexander, V Perraud, E Bruns, S Johnson, MJ Ezell, and BJ Finlayson-Pitts. 2009. "Contamination from electrically conductive silicone tubing during aerosol chemical analysis." Atmospheric Environment 43(17):2836-2839. 


  • Hu J, RA Dagle, BR Johnson, HW Kreuzer, DJ Gaspar, BQ Roberts, and ML Alexander. 2008. "Development of a Micropyrolyzer for Enhanced Isotope Ratio Measurement." Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 47(22):8625-8630.  doi:10.1021/ie8009236
  • Kleinman LI, SR Springston, PH Daum, YN Lee, LJ Nunnermacker, G Senum, JX Wang, J Weinstein-Lloyd, ML Alexander, JM Hubbe, JV Ortega, MR Canagaratna, and J Jayne. 2008. "The Time Evolution of Aerosol Composition Over the Mexico City Plateau." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 8(6):1559-1575. 
  • Wang JX, YN Lee, PH Daum, JT Jayne, and ML Alexander. 2008. "Effects of aerosol organics on cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) concentration and first indirect aerosol effect." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 8(21):6325-6339. 
  • Yu Y, MJ Ezell, A Zelenyuk, DG Imre, ML Alexander, JV Ortega, B D'Anna, CW Harmon, S Johnson, and BJ Finlayson-Pitts. 2008. "Photooxidation of Alpha-Pinene at High Relative Humidity in the Presence of Increasing Concentrations of NOx." Atmospheric Environment 42(20):5044-5060.  doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.02.026
  • Yu Y, MJ Ezell, A Zelenyuk, DG Imre, ML Alexander, JV Ortega, JL Thomas, K Gogna, DJ Tobias, B D'Anna, CW Harmon, S Johnson, and BJ Finlayson-Pitts. 2008. "Nitrate Ion Photochemistry at Interfaces: A New Mechanism for Oxidation of alpha-Pinene." Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. PCCP 10(21):3063-3071.  doi:10.1039/b719495a


  • Song C, RA Zaveri, ML Alexander, JA Thornton, S Madronich, JV Ortega, A Zelenyuk, XY Yu, A Laskin, and AD Maughan. 2007. "Effect of Hydrophobic Primary Organic Aerosols on Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation from Ozonolysis of a-Pinene." Geophysical Research Letters 34(20):Paper # L20803.  doi:10.1029/2007GL030720
  • Velasco E, BK Lamb, H Westberg, EJ Allwine, G Sosa, JL Arriaga-Colina, BT Jobson, ML Alexander, P Prazeller, WB Knighton, T Rogers, M Grutter, S Herndon, CE Kolb, MA Zavala, B de Foy, RM Volkamer, L Molina, and MJ Molina. 2007. "Distribution, Magnitudes, Reactivities, Ratios and Diurnal Patterns of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Valley of Mexico During the MCMA 2002 & 2003 Field Campaigns." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 7(2):329-353. 


  • Shirley T, WH Brune, X Ren, J Mao, R Lesher, B Cardenas, RM Volkamer, L Molina, MJ Molina, BK Lamb, E Velasco, BTT Jobson, and ML Alexander. 2006. "Atmospheric Oxidation in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) during April 2003." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics 6(9):2753-2765. 


  • Berkowitz CM, BTT Jobson, ML Alexander, A Laskin, and NS Laulainen. 2005. "Aerosol Composition and Morphology during the 2005 Marine Stratus Radiation Aerosol and Drizzle Study." In 2005 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.  American Geophysical Union, Washington DC. 
  • Jobson BTT, ML Alexander, GD Maupin, and GG Muntean. 2005. "On-line Analysis of Organic Compounds in Diesel Exhaust Using a Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometer (PTR-MS)." International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 245(1-3):78-89. 
  • McGrail BP, JS Young, PF Martin, and ML Alexander. 2005. "Characterization of JAPEX/JNOC/GSC et al. Mallik 5L-38 Core Samples in the Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope." In Scientific Results from the Mallik 2002 Gas Hydrate Production Research Well Program, Mackenzie Delta, Northwest Territories, Canada, vol. 585, ed. SR Dallimore and TS Collett.  Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada. 
  • Velasco E, BK Lamb, S Pressley, EJ Allwine, H Westberg, BTT Jobson, ML Alexander, P Prazeller, L Molina, and MJ Molina. 2005. "Flux Measurements of Volatile Organic Compounds from an Urban Landscape." Geophysical Research Letters 32(20):L20802, doi: 10.1029/2005GL023356. 


  • Hopkins DF, ML Alexander, KR Swanson, and MA Buschbach. 2004. "Control System for an Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer." Scientific Computing & Instrumentation (April 2004):18-20. 
  • Boscaini E, ML Alexander, P Prazeller, and TD Mark. 2004. "Investigation of Fundamental Physical Properties of a Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) Membrane using a Proton Transfer Reaction-Mass Spectrometry (PRTMS)." International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 239(2-3):179-186. 
  • Boscaini E, ML Alexander, P Prazeller, and TD Mark. 2004. "Membrane Inlet Proton Transfer Reaction Mass Spectrometry (MI-PTRMS) for direct measurements of VOCs in water." International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 239(2-3):171-177. 


  • Alexander ML, E Boscaini, W Lindinger, and TD Mark. 2003. "Membrane Introduction Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry." International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 223-224:763-770. 
  • Johnson TJ, RS Disselkamp, YF Su, RJ Fellows, ML Alexander, and CJ Driver. 2003. "Gas-Phase Hydrolysis of SOCL2 at 297 and 309 K: Implications for Its Atmospheric Fate ." Journal of Physical Chemistry A 107(32):6183-6190. 
  • Driver CJ, TJ Johnson, YF Su, ML Alexander, RJ Fellows, JK Magnuson, RS Disselkamp, and BA Roberts. 2003. The Impact of Humidity, Temperature and Ultraviolet Light on the Near-Field Environmental Fate of Pinacolyl Alcohol, Methyl Iodide, Methylphosphonic Dichloride (DCMP) and Thionyl Chloride Using an Environmental Wind TunnelPNNL-14172, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA. 
  • Prazeller P, PT Palmer, E Boscaini, BT Jobson, and ML Alexander. 2003. "Detecting Isobaric VOCs." Analytical Chemistry 75(17):371A. 
  • Prazeller P, PT Palmer, E Boscaini, BT Jobson, and ML Alexander. 2003. "Proton Transfer Reaction Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer." Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 17(14):1593-1599. 
  • Prazeller P, PT Palmer, E Boscaini, BTT Jobson, and ML Alexander. 2003. "Proton Transfer Reaction Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer." Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 17(14):1593-1599. 


  • Moeller TM, ML Alexander, MH Engelhard, DJ Gaspar, ML Luna, and PM Irving. 2002. "Surface Decontamination of Simulated Chemical Warfare Agents Using a Nonequilibrium Plasma with Off-Gas Monitoring." IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science 30(4):1454-1459. 

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