Abstract Individual aerosol particles were collected on 5 days with different meteorological conditions in March, April and June 1991 in the urban atmosphere of Vienna in Austria. The samples collected with an impactor were examined by electron microscopy. The mixing properties of submicrometer aerosol particles with radii between 0.1 and 1 μm were studied by using the dialysis (extraction) of water-soluble material. The averaged results showed that more than 85% of particles with radii between 0.1 and 0.7 μm were hygroscopic. However, more than 50% of particles with radii larger than 0.2 μm were mixed particles (hygroscopic particles with water-insoluble inclusions), and they were dominant (80%) in the size range 0.5–0.7 μm radius. The results also showed that the number proportion of mixed particles increased with increasing radius and the abundance increased with increasing particle loading in the atmosphere. The volume fraction of water-soluble material ( ε) in mixed particles tended to decrease with increasing radius, implying the formation of mixed particles by heterogeneous processes such as condensation and/or surface reaction. Some results of elemental composition in individual particles analyzed with an energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) analyzer equipped with an electron microscope are also presented in this paper.