Synonyms: 
carbon monoxide

UAS Chromatograph for Atmospheric Trace Species

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Chromatograph for Atmospheric Trace Species (UCATS) was designed and built for autonomous operation on pilotless aircraft. It uses chromatography to separate atmospheric trace gases along a narrow heated column, followed by precise and accurate detection with electron capture detectors. There are two chromatographs on UCATS, one of which measures nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride, the other of which measures methane, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide. In addition, there is a small ozone instrument and a tunable diode laser instrument for water vapor. Gas is pumped into the instruments from an inlet below the GV, measured, and vented. UCATS has flown on the Altair UAS, the GV during HIPPO I and II, and most recently on the NASA/NOAA Global Hawk UAS during the Global Hawk Pacific (GloPac) mission, where a record was set for the longest duration research flight (more than 28 hours). UCATS is relatively lightweight and compact, making it ideal for smaller platforms, but it is easily adaptable to a mid-size platform like the GV for HIPPO. The data are used to measure sources and sinks of trace gases involved in climate and air quality, as well as transport through the atmosphere.

UCATS is three different instruments in one enclosure:

1. 2-channel gas chromatograph (GC)
2. Dual-beam ozone photometer (OZ)
3. Tunable diode laser (TDL) spectrometer for water vapor (WV)

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N2O, SF6, CH4, CO, O3, H2, H2O
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Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Atmo Water Sensor Package

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PAN and Trace Hydrohalocarbon ExpeRiment

PANTHER uses Electron Capture Detection and Gas Chromatography (ECD-GC) and Mass Selective Detection and Gas Chromatography (MSD-GC) to measure numerous trace gases, including Methyl halides, HCFCs, PAN, N20, SF6, CFC-12, CFC-11, Halon-1211, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride.

3 ECD (electron capture detectors), packed columns (OV-101, Porpak-Q, molecular sieve).

1 ECD with a TE (thermal electric) cooled RTX-200 capillary column.

2-channel MSD (mass selective detector). The MSD analyses two independent samples concentrated onto TE cooled Haysep traps, then passed through two temperature programmed RTX-624 capillary columns.

With the exception of PAN, all channels of chromatography are normalized to a stable in-flight calibration gas references to NOAA scales. The PAN data is normalized to an in-flight PAN source of ≈ 100 ppt with ±5 % reproducibility. This source is generated by efficient photolytic conversion of NO in the presence of acetone. Detector non-linearity is taken out by lab calibrations for all molecules.

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JPL Mark IV Balloon Interferometer

The MkIV interferometer operates in solar absorption mode, meaning that direct sunlight is spectrally analyzed and the amount of various gases at different heights in the Earth's atmosphere is derived from the shapes and depths of their absorption lines. The optical design of the MkIV interferometer is based largely on that of the ATMOS instrument, which has flown four times on the Space Shuttle. The first three mirrors in the optical path comprise the suntracker. Two of these mirrors are servo-controlled in order to compensate for any angular motion of the observation platform. The subsequent wedged KBr plates, flats, and cube-corner retro-reflectors comprise a double-passed Michelson interferometer, whose function is to impart a wavelength-dependent modulation to the solar beam. This is achieved by sliding one of the retro-reflectors at a uniform velocity so that the recombining beams interfere with each other. A paraboloid then focusses the solar beam onto infrared detectors, which measure the interferometrically modulated solar signal. Finally, Fourier transformation of the recorded detector outputs yields the solar spectrum. An important advantage of the MkIV Interferometer is that by employing a dichroic to feed two detectors in parallel, a HgCdTe photoconductor for the low frequencies (650-1850 cm-1) and a InSb photodiode for the high frequencies (1850-5650 cm-1), the entire mid-infrared region can be observed simultaneously with good linearity and signal-to-noise ratio. In this region over 30 different gases have identifiable spectral signatures including H2O, O3, N2O, CO, CH4, NO, NO2, HNO3, HNO4, N2O5, H2O2, ClNO3, HOCl, HCl, HF, COF2, CF4, SF6, CF2ClCFCl2, CHF2Cl, CF2Cl2, CFCl3, CCl4, CH3Cl, C2H2, C2H6, OCS, HCN, N2, O2, CO2 and many isotopic variants. The last three named gases, having well known atmospheric abundances, are important in establishing the observation geometry of each spectrum, which otherwise can be a major source of uncertainty. Similarly, from analysis of T-sensitive CO2 lines, the temperature profile can be accurately determined. The simultaneity of the observations of all these gases greatly simplifies the interpretation of the results, which are used for testing computer models of atmospheric transport and chemistry, validation of satellite data, and trend determination.

Although the MkIV can measure gas column abundances at any time during the day, the highest sensitivity to atmospheric trace gases is obtained by observing sunrise or sunset from a balloon. The very long (~ 400 km) atmospheric paths traversed by incoming rays in this observation geometry also make this so-called solar occultation technique insensitive to local contamination.

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Balloon, DC-8 - AFRC
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Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere-Aircraft

MOPITT (Measurements Of Pollution In The Troposphere) is a carbon monoxide and methane remote sounder launched in 1999 with the Terra spacecraft. An aircraft replica (MOPITT-A) was developed at the University of Toronto to perform validation of MOPITT radiances as well as small-scale pollution studies. MOPITT-A is based on the engineering model of MOPITT, modified for flight in NASA's ER-2 research aircraft. The instrument was first tested over California from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in July 2000.

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Differential Absorption Carbon monOxide Measurement

The in‐situ diode laser spectrometer system, referred to by its historical name DACOM, includes three tunable diode lasers providing 4.7, 4.5, and 3.3 μm radiation for accessing CO, N2O, and CH4 absorption lines, respectively. The three laser beams are combined by the use of dichroic filters and are then directed through a small volume (0.3 liter) Herriott cell enclosing a 36 meter optical path. As the three coincident laser beams exit the absorption cell, they are spectrally isolated using dichroic filters and are then directed to individual detectors, one for each laser wavelength. Wavelength reference cells containing CO, CH4, and N2O are used to wavelength lock the operation of the three lasers to the appropriate absorption lines. Ambient air is continuously drawn through a Rosemount inlet probe and a permeable membrane dryer which removes water vapor before entering the Herriott cell and subsequently being exhausted via a vacuum pump to the aircraft cabin. To minimize potential spectral overlap from other atmospheric species, the Herriott cell is maintained at a reduced pressure of ~90 Torr. At 5 SLPM mass flow rate, the absorption cell volume is exchanged nominally twice per second. Frequent but short calibrations with well documented and stable reference gases are critical to achieving both high precision and accuracy. Calibration for all species is accomplished by periodically (~4 minutes) flowing calibration gas through this instrument. Measurement accuracy is closely tied to the accuracy of the reference gases obtained from NOAA/ESRL, Boulder, CO. Both CO and CH4 mixing ratios are provided in real-time to investigators aboard the DC‐8.

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Carbon Monoxide By Attenuation of Laser Transmission

COBALT makes measurements using off-axis integrated output spectroscopy.

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Airborne Tunable Laser Absorption Spectrometer

ATLAS uses a tunable laser to detect an infrared-active target gas such as N2O, methane, carbon monoxide, or ozone. The laser source is tuned to an individual roto-vibrational line in an infrared absorption band of the target gas, and is frequency modulated at 2 kHz. The instrument detects the infrared target gas by measuring the fractional absorption of the infrared beam from the tunable diode laser as it traverses a multipass White cell containing an atmospheric sample at ambient pressure.

Synchronous detection of the resultant amplitude modulation at 2kHz and 4kHz yields the first and second harmonics of the generally weak absorption feature with high sensitivity (DI/I < 1E-5). Part of the main beam is split off through a short cell containing a known amount of the target gas to a reference detector. The reference first harmonic signal is used to lock the laser frequency to the absorption line center, while the second harmonic signal is used to derive the calibration factor needed to convert the measurement beam second harmonic amplitude into absolute gas concentration. A zero beam is included to correct for background gas absorption occurring outside the multipass cell. The response time of the instrument is set by the gas flow rate through the White cell, which is normally adjusted to give a new sample every second. Periodic standard additions of the target gas are injected into the sample stream as a second method to calibrate the measurement technique and as an overall instrument diagnostic.

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Argus Tunable Diode Laser Instrument

Argus is a two channel, tunable diode laser instrument set up for the simultaneous, in situ measurement of CO (carbon monoxide), N2O (nitrous oxide) and CH4 (methane) in the troposphere and lower stratosphere. The instrument measures 40 x 30 x 30 cm and weighs 21 kg. An auxiliary, in-flight calibration system has dimensions 42 x 26 x 34 cm and weighs 17 kg.

The instrument is an absorption spectrometer operating in rapid scan, secondharmonic mode using frequency-modulated tunable lead-salt diode lasers emitting in the mid-infrared. Spectra are co-added for two seconds and are stored on a solid state disk for later analysis. The diode laser infrared beam is shaped by two anti-refection coated lenses into an f/40 beam focused at the entrance aperture of a multi-pass Herriott cell. The Herriott cell is common to both optical channels and is a modified astigmatic cell (New Focus Inc., Santa Clara, California).

The aspherical mirrors are coated with protected silver for optimal infrared reflectivity. The cell is set up for a 182-pass state for a total path of 36m. The pass number can be confirmed by visual spot pattern verification on the mirrors observed through the glass cell body when the cell is illuminated with a visible laser beam. However, instrument calibration is always carried out using calibrated gas standards with the Argus instrument operating at its infrared design wavelengths, 3.3 and 4.7 micrometers respectively for CH4 and CO detection. The electronic processing of the second harmonic spectra is done by standard phase sensitive amplifier techniques with demodulation occurring at twice the laser modulation frequency of 40 kHz. To optimize the secondharmonic signal amplitude in a changing ambient pressure environment the laser modulation amplitude is updated every 2 seconds to its optimal theoretical value based upon the measured pressure in the Herriott cell.

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Airborne 2-Channel Laser Infrared Absorption Spectrometer

The Airborne Laser Infrared Absorption Spectrometer (ALIAS-II) is a very high resolution scanning tunable diode laser spectrometer which makes direct, simultaneous measurements of selectable combinations of HCl, NO2, CO, CO2, CH4, and N2O at sub-part-per-billion levels over a 3-30 second integration time. The measurement technique is based upon using tunable lead-salt and/or quantum cascade lasers operating from 3.4 to 8 microns wavelength scanning over absorption lines at 10 Hz recording second harmonic spectra. The instrument features an open-cradle multipass Herriott absorption cell with 15.24-cm diameter spherical zerodur mirrors coated with gold on chrome. The separation between the mirrors is adjustable allowing for a relatively small cell (0.75-m to 1.5-m) to contain an optical path length up to 120-m, depending on the spacing of the mirrors. Lasers and detectors are contained in a lightweight aluminum liquid nitrogen Dewar which can achieve a 28-hour hold time with only a 2 liter charge of liquid nitrogen. The instrument features custom laser current drives, signal chains, InSb detectors and preamps, 16-bit signal averager, analog signal conditioner, and digital I/O which are controlled by an onboard Pentium processor. Data is written to a ruggedized 2-Gb hard disk every 30 seconds and simultaneously transmitted via telemetry to ground station computers which provide backup storage of the data. The instrument weighs 36 kg and requires <56 watts for operation. Additional power up to 250 watts is available for structural heaters and current draw varies with atmospheric conditions.

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Balloon
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