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A high-frequency modulated tunable diode laser absorption spectrometer for measurements of CO2, Ch4, N2O, and CO in air samples of a new cm3

: Güllük, T.; Wagner, H.E.; Slemr, F.

Review of scientific instruments 68 (1997), No.1, pp.230-239 : Ill., Lit.
ISSN: 0034-6748
ISSN: 1089-7623
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IFU; 2002 in Helmholtz-Gesellschaft integriert

Investigations of the relationship between changes in climate and the variation of composition of the atmosphere can be performed most directly and with the highest resolution possible by analyzing the air sampled and preserved in the polar ice sheets for hundreds of thousands of years by nature itself. For the determination of CO2, CH4, N2O, and CO in air samples of 1-3 cm3 extracted from ice cores, a high-frequency modulated tunable diode laser absorption spectrometer has been developed. The instrument can measure CO2, CH4, N2O, and CO at ambient mixing ratios of 300 ppmv (1 ppmv= 10(exp -6) volume mixing ratio), 1700, 300, and 100 ppbv (1 ppbv = 10(exp -9) volume mixing ratio), respectively, with a precision of 1 per cent - 2 per cent. The measurement of high CO2 mixing ratios is not constrained by the detection limit. For other gases mixing ratios of 20 ppbv of CH4. 0.9 ppbv of N2O, and 1.6 ppbv of CO are detectable with the instrument in 2 cm3 standard temperature and pressure. Th ese detection limits and the measurement precision are sufficient for the determination of past changes in atmospheric composition. The technique is also suitable for other applications in which several infrared active trace gases have to be determined in the low ppbv and possibly even in the upper pptv range in air samples of a few cm3 or small samples of other matrices. The sensitivity or the reproducibility of the instrument can be improved by another order of magnitude by using more powerful lasers and by averaging over longer periods. Such improvement could result in a capability to detect sub-ppbv mixing ratios in samples of the present size or ppbv measurements in even smaller air samples. The higher reproducibility would also make the technique interesting for measurements of isotope ratios.