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Long optical cavities for open-path monitoring of atmospheric trace gases and aerosol extinction

, : Long optical cavities for open-path monitoring of atmospheric trace gases and aerosol extinction. Applied Optics 48(4): B159-B171

An incoherent broadband cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy setup employing a 20 m long optical cavity is described for sensitive in situ measurements of light extinction between 630 and 690 nm. The setup was installed at the SAPHIR atmospheric simulation chamber during an intercomparison of instruments for nitrate (NO(3)) radical detection. The long cavity was stable for the entire duration of the two week campaign. A detection limit of approximately 2 pptv for NO(3) in an acquisition time of 5 s was established during that time. In addition to monitoring NO(3), nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)) concentrations were simultaneously retrieved and compared against concurrent measurements by a chemiluminescence detector. Some results from the campaign are presented to demonstrate the performance of the instrument in an atmosphere containing water vapor and inorganic aerosol. The spectral analysis of NO(3) and NO(2), the concentration dependence of the water absorption cross sections, and the retrieval of aerosol extinction are discussed. The first deployment of the setup in the field is also briefly described.


PMID: 19183574

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