Lifting the Veil on an Old Mystery

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Science  12 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6129, pp. 154-155
DOI: 10.1126/science.1236475

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Criegee intermediates (CIs) (1) are the main intermediates in atmospheric reactions between ozone and organic molecules, resulting in the formation of free radicals, organic acids, carbonyl compounds, and organic aerosols. Such reactions contribute to local photochemical smog and global climate change. Advances in understanding the chemistry of CIs long remained elusive because these compounds could not be observed directly. On page 174 of this issue, Su et al. (2) report direct detection of a CI, and on page 177, Taatjes et al. (3) describe direct CI kinetics data that yield key information about their impact on the atmosphere.