Formic Acid
Methanoic Acid


Solar viewing Fourier Transform Interferometer (FTIR). This is a ground based instrument stationed at the NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO). It operates daily in an autonomous mode taking middle infrared solar spectra of the terrestrial atmosphere. It began operation in 1995 and has run continuously since. The data are used for long term studies of many trace species in the atmosphere. Its operated as part of the Network for the Detection for Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC See for information on the network and for info on PI J. Hannigan. Data are publicly available at Data products consist of retrievals from the remote sensing spectra of vertical profiles of CO, CH4, ClONO2, HCOOH, C2H6, HCN, HCl, HF, HNO3, H2O, HDO, OCS, N2O, O3, H2CO. Other species are available.

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NOAA Iodide Ion Time-of-Flight Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer

Iodide Ion ToF (Time-of-Flight) CIMS (Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer)

Principle of the Measurement

Chemical ionization mass spectrometric detection of gas phase organic and inorganic analytes via I- adduct formation

Species Measured

Reactive nitrogen species: HNO3 (nitric acid), HONO (nitrous acid), HO2NO2 (peroxynitric acid), N2O5 (dinitrogen pentoxide), HNCO (isocyanic acid) 
Halogen Species: ClNO2, HCl, HBr, HOBr, HOCl, Cl2, Br2 
Low to intermediate volatility organic species

Time Response

Instrumental response <1 sec, Field response is limited by inlet surface affinity for a particular species

Detection Limit

Precision on 1s data various by species


(15% + 1 pptv) for N2O5
(20% + 1 pptv) for ClNO2
(30% + 15 pptv) for HONO
(25% + 10 pptv) for HO2NO2
(15% + 15 pptv) for HNO3
(20% + 5 pptv) for HNCO
(20% + 15 pptv) for HCOOH
(30% + 1 pptv) for halogenated species


TOFWERK/Aerodyne Research Inc. (modified)

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Compact Atmospheric Multispecies Spectrometer

The CAMS instrument’s core design and operation is similar to the DFGAS (Difference Frequency Generation Absorption Spectrometer) instrument, which has been successfully deployed for fast, accurate, and sensitive airborne measurements of the important trace gas formaldehyde (CH2O). CAMS like DFGAS is based on tunable mid-IR (3.53-μm) absorption spectroscopy utilizing advanced fiber optically pumped difference-frequency generation (DFG) laser sources. Mid-Infrared light at 2831.6-cm-1 (3.53 μm) is generated by mixing two near-IR room temperature lasers (one at 1562 nm and the other at 1083 nm) in a non-linear crystal (periodically poled lithium niobate). The DFG laser output is directed through a multipass Herriott absorption cell (90-m pathlength in ~ 1.7 liter volume) where the laser light is selectively absorbed by a moderately strong and isolated vibrational-rotational absorption feature of CH2O. The transmitted light from the cell is directed onto an IR detector employing a number of optical elements. A portion of the IR beam is split off by a special beam splitter (BS) before the multipass cell and focused onto an Amplitude Modulation Detector (AMD) to capture and remove optical noise from various components in the difference frequency generation process. A third detection channel from light emanating out the back of the beam splitter is directed through a low pressure CH2O reference cell and onto a reference detector (RD) for locking the center of the wavelength scan to the absorption line center. The mid-IR DFG output is simultaneously scanned and modulated over the CH2O absorption feature, and the second harmonic signals at twice the modulation frequency from the 3 detectors are processed using a computer lock-in amplifier [Weibring et al., 2006].

Instrument Type: 
Gulfstream V - NSF, DC-8 - AFRC
Point(s) of Contact: 
Alan Fried (Co-I)
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