Faculty Publications


Detection of nitric acid (HNO3) in the atmosphere using the LOPAP technique

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Yasin F. Elshorbany

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A new instrument (LOPAP: LOng Path liquid Absorption Photometer) for the sensitive detection of nitric acid (HNO3) in the atmosphere is described. HNO3 is sampled in a temperature controlled stripping coil mounted in an external sampling module to minimize sampling artefacts in sampling lines. After conversion into a strongly absorbing dye, HNO3 is detected in long path absorption in special Teflon (R) AF 2400 tubes used as liquid core wave guides. For the correction of some interferences, due to for example HONO and particle nitrate, two channels are used in series. The interferences from several potential interfering compounds including particle nitrate were quantified in the laboratory and in a large outdoor simulation chamber. With the exception of the interference caused by N2O5, which is quantitatively measured by the instrument, all tested interferences can be corrected under atmospheric conditions. Thus, in the instrument only the sum of N(V) from HNO3 and N2O5 is determined, which is expected to be a common problem of wet chemical HNO3 instruments. The instrument has a detection limit of 5-30 pptv for a time response of 6-2 min, respectively and was validated against the FTIR technique in a large outdoor simulation chamber. In addition, the applicability of the instrument was demonstrated in a field campaign.