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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 9 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 5087-5104, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-5087-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Sep 2018

Research article | 07 Sep 2018

Real-time measurements of gas-phase organic acids using SF6 chemical ionization mass spectrometry

Theodora Nah1,a, Yi Ji1,2, David J. Tanner1, Hongyu Guo1, Amy P. Sullivan3, Nga Lee Ng1,2, Rodney J. Weber1, and L. Gregory Huey1 Theodora Nah et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 2School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • anow at: School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China

Abstract. The sources and atmospheric chemistry of gas-phase organic acids are currently poorly understood, due in part to the limited range of measurement techniques available. In this work, we evaluated the use of SF6 as a sensitive and selective chemical ionization reagent ion for real-time measurements of gas-phase organic acids. Field measurements are made using chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) at a rural site in Yorkville, Georgia, from September to October 2016 to investigate the capability of this measurement technique. Our measurements demonstrate that SF6 can be used to measure a range of organic acids in the atmosphere. One-hour averaged ambient concentrations of organic acids ranged from a few parts per trillion by volume (ppt) to several parts per billion by volume (ppb). All the organic acids displayed similar strong diurnal behaviors, reaching maximum concentrations between 17:00 and 19:00EDT. The organic acid concentrations are dependent on ambient temperature, with higher organic acid concentrations being measured during warmer periods.

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The sources and atmospheric chemistry of gas-phase organic acids are currently poorly understood, due in part to the limited range of measurement techniques available. We evaluated the use of SF6 as a sensitive and selective chemical ionization reagent ion for real-time measurements of gas-phase organic acids at a rural site in Yorkville, Georgia. We found that ambient concentrations of organic acids ranged from a few ppt to several ppb, and are dependent on ambient temperature.
The sources and atmospheric chemistry of gas-phase organic acids are currently poorly...
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