Reactive Nitrogen

Instrument: Reactive Nitrogen

Principal Investigator: David W. Fahey

NOAA Aeronomy Laboratory
325 Broadway,R/E/AL6
Boulder, CO 80303

Principle of Operation:
The instrument is designed to measure nitric oxide (NO) and the sum of reactive nitrogen oxides (NOy). Species included in NOy are NO, NO2, HNO3, N2O5 and ClONO2. NO is measured by detecting light from the chemiluminescent reaction between reagent ozone and NO in the ambient sample. NOy is reduced to NO by catalytic reduction on a gold surface with carbon monoxide (CO) acting as a reducing agent. The catalyst is located outside the aircraft fuselage in order to avoid inlet line losses. Two reaction vessels are incorporated in the instrument to allow for simultaneous measurement of NO and NOy. Ca1ibration with NO or NO2 is made by standard addition several times during a flight. The baseline of each measurement is determined in part by the addition of synthetic air that contains no reactive nitrogen. The difference between the sample flow velocity in the inlet opening and the aircraft velocity cause aerosol particles in the atmosphere to be oversampled. For sizes below 5 micrometers in diameter, this feature assists in the identification of aerosol particles that contain NOy.



Accuracy: < 20% plus precision
Detection limit: < 0.1 ppbv NOy, ~0.02 ppbv NO
Response time: 1 sec
Location on the ER2: Lower Q-bay rack

Reference: D.W. Fahey et al., In situ aerosol measurements of total reactive nitrogen, total water, and aerosol in a polar stratospheric cloud in the Antarctic, J. Geophys. Res. 94 11-99-11315, 1959.

Instrument Team: 

CU Aircraft High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer

Principle: The CU aircraft version of the Aerodyne High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) detects non-refractory submicron aerosol composition by impaction on a vaporizer at 600°C, followed by electron ionization and time-of-flight mass spectral analysis. Size-resolved composition can be quantified by measuring the arrival times of the aerosol at the vaporizer.

Aircraft Operation: (1 min cycles, can be adjusted to meet mission goals):
46 s total concentration measurements (1 s resolution, can be increased to up to 10 Hz upon request)
5 s speciated size distribution measurements (with improved S/N detection due to ePToF acquisition)
9 s Background + Overhead
Higher accuracy due to flight day calibrations using built-in system
Custom pressure controlled inlet with confirmed performance up to 41 kft

Real Time Data Products: 
PM1 Aerosol Mass Concentrations:
Organic aerosol (OA) , SO4, NO3, NH4, Chloride 
OA Chemical Markers: f44 (Secondary OA), f57 (hydrocarbon-like OA), f60 (biomass burning OA), f82 (isoprene epoxide-SOA), other fx upon request

More Advanced Products:
- PM1 Seasalt, ClO4, total I, total Br, MSA concentrations
- O/C, H/C, OA/OC, OSc
- Particle organic nitrates (pRONO2)
- Ammonium Balance, estimated pH
- OA components by positive matrix factorization (PMF)
- Particle eddy covariance fluxes of all species

Detection Limits (1s, ng sm-3), (1 min, ng sm-3) from start of the flight (due to custom cyropump):
Sulfate: 40, 15
Nitrate: 15, 6
Ammonium: 3, 1
Chloride: 30, 12
OA: 200, 80
For detailed OA analysis, longer averaging (3-30 s, depending on OA concentration) is needed. A 1 min product is hence provided as well.


Instrument Type: 
Instrument Team: 

Soluble Acidic Gases and Aerosols

As part of the measurement team on the NASA DC-8 we operate two related installations: a mist chamber/ion chromatograph (MC/IC) sampling/analysis system providing near real time results for selected species, and a bulk aerosol system that collects particulates onto filters for subsequent analysis. We use ion chromatography on aqueous extracts of the bulk aerosol samples collected on Teflon filters to quantify soluble ions (Cl-, Br-, NO3-, SO42-, C2O42-, Na+, NH4+, K+, Ca+, and Mg+). Filters are exposed on all level flight legs. Below 3 km exposure times are 5 minutes or less, increasing at higher altitudes to a maximum sample time of 15 minutes. Aerosols participate in heterogeneous chemistry, impact radiative transfer, and can be detected from space. Our measurements help to validate and extend retrievals of aerosol distributions and properties by MODIS, MISR and CALIPSO. In addition, several of the particle-associated ions are tracers of sources of gas and aerosol pollutants (e.g., SO42- from industrial emissions of SO2, enhancements of C2O42-, K+, and NH4+ indicate encounters with biomass burning plumes, Na+, and Cl- are tracers of seasalt, Mg2+ and Ca2+ are tracers of dust). Our system has two inlets, allowing collection of paired samples simultaneously.

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Particle Into Liquid Sampler

The Particle Into Liquid Sampler (PILS) was developed for rapid automated on-line and continuous measurement of ambient aerosol bulk composition. The general approach is based on earlier devices in which ambient particles are mixed with saturated water vapor to produce droplets easily collected by inertial techniques. The resulting liquid stream is analyzed with an ion chromatograph to quantitatively measure the bulk aerosol ionic components. In this instrument, a modified version of a particle size magnifier is employed to activate and grow particles comprising the fine aerosol mass. A single jet inertial impactor is used to collect the droplets onto a vertical glass plate that is continually washed with a constant water diluent flow of nominally 0.10 ml min-1. The flow is divided and then analyzed by a dual channel ion chromatograph. In its current form, 4.3 min integrated samples were measured every 7 min. The instrument provides bulk composition measurements with a detection limit of approximately 0.1 µg m-3 for chloride, nitrate, sulfate, sodium, ammonium, calcium, and potassium.

Instrument Type: 
Na, NH4, K, Mg, Ca+2, Cl, NO2, NO3, SO4, PO4, Br-, WSOC
Instrument Team: 
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