The study of aerosol composition and air–snow exchange processes is relevant to the reconstruction of past atmosphere composition from ice cores. For this purpose, aerosol samples, superficial snow layers and firn samples from snow pits were collected at Dome Concordia station, East Antarctica, during the 2000/01 summer field season. The aerosol was collected in a ‘coarse’ and a ‘fine’ fraction, roughly separated from each other by a stacked filter system (5.0 and 0.4 μm). Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) direct measurements on the fine fraction showed that 72% of surface size distribution ranges from 1.0 x 105 to 1.2 x 106 nm2. Assuming a spherical model, the volume size distribution of particles smaller than 5.0 μm shows a mode in the radius range 0.2–0.6 μm. Ion chromatographic (IC) measurements of selected chemical components allowed calculation of the ionic balance of the two size fractions. The fine fraction is dominant, representing 86% of the total ionic budget, and it is characterized by high content of sulphate and acidity. Principal component analysis (PCA) identified sea-spray and biogenic aerosol sources and showed some particulars of the transport and depositional processes of some chemical components (Ca2+, MSA, nssSO4
2–). Comparative analysis of aerosol, surface hoar and superficial snow showed differences in chemical composition: nitrate and chloride exhibit very high concentrations in the uppermost snow layers and in the surface hoar, and low values in the aerosol. This evidence demonstrates that nitrate and chloride are mainly in gas phase at Dome C and they can be caught on the snow and hoar surface through dry deposition and adsorption processes.