Large-scale epidemiological studies have shown a close correlation between adverse human health effects and exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM). The oxidative potential (OP) of ambient PM has been implicated in inducing toxic effects associated with PM exposure. In particular, reactive oxygen species (ROS), either bound to PM or generated by particulate components in vivo, substantially contribute to the OP and therefore toxicity of PM by lowering antioxidant concentrations in the lung, which can subsequently lead to oxidative stress, inflammation, and disease. Traditional methods for measuring aerosol OP are labor intensive and have poor time resolution, with significant delays between aerosol collection and ROS analysis. These methods may underestimate ROS concentrations in PM because of the potentially short lifetime of some ROS species; therefore, continuous online, highly time-resolved measurement of ROS components in PM is highly advantageous. In this work, we develop a novel online method for measuring aerosol OP based on ascorbic acid chemistry, an antioxidant prevalent in the lung, thus combining the advantages of continuous online measurement with a physiologically relevant assay. The method limit of detection is estimated for a range of atmospherically important chemical components such as Cu(II) 0.22 ± 0.03 μg m–3, Fe(II) 47.8 ± 5.5 μg m–3, Fe(III) 0.63 ± 0.05 μg m–3, and secondary organic aerosol 41.2 ± 6.9 μg m–3, demonstrating that even at this early stage of development, the online method is capable of measuring the OP of PM in polluted urban environments and smog chamber studies.