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UV laser long-path absorption spectroscopyLong path Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) using a picosecond UV laser as a light source was developed in our institute. Tropospheric OH radicals are measured by their rotational absorption lines around 308 nm. The spectra are obtained using a high resolution spectrograph. The detection system has been improved over the formerly used optomechanical scanning device by application of a photodiode array which increased the observed spectral range by a factor of 6 and which utilizes the light much more effectively leading to a considerable reduction of the measurement time. This technique provides direct measurements of OH because the signal is given by the product of the absorption coefficient and the OH concentration along the light path according to Lambert-Beers law. No calibration is needed. Since the integrated absorption coefficient is well known the accuracy of the measurement essentially depends on the extent to which the OH absorption pattern can be detected in the spectra. No interference by self generated OH radicals in the detection lightpath has been observed. The large bandwidth (greater than 0.15 nm) and the high spectral resolution (1.5 pm) allows absolute determination of interferences by other trace gas absorptions. The measurement error is directly accessible from the absorption-signal to baseline-noise ratio in the spectra. The applicability of the method strongly depends on visibility. Elevated concentrations of aerosols lead to considerable attenuation of the laser light which reduces the S/N-ratio. In the moderately polluted air of Julich, where we performed a number of OH measurement spectra. In addition absorption features of unidentified species were frequently detected. A quantitative deconvolution even of the known species is not easy to achieve and can leave residual structures in the spectra. Thus interferences usually increase the noise and deteriorate the OH detection sensitivity. Using diode arrays for sensitive absorption measurements some specific problems of those detectors have to be solved experimentally (i.e. fixed pattern noise, dark signal noise, nonuniform efficiency of individual elements, spatial sensitivity variations). In order to improve the low spatial resolution we performed laboratory studies using a multiple reflection cell to convert the long path technique to a real in situ point measurement. Under the conditions of field experiments in Julich residual absorbance signals at present are about 1.5x10(exp -4) corresponding to an OH detection sensitivity of 2x10(exp 6) OH/cm(exp 3) using a light path of 5.8 km. Total integration times for one measurement point vary between a few minutes and an hour.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Dorn, Hans-Peter (Forschungszentrum Juelich G.m.b.H. Juelich, Germany)
Brauers, Theo (Forschungszentrum Juelich G.m.b.H. Juelich, Germany)
Neuroth, Rudolf (Forschungszentrum Juelich G.m.b.H. Juelich, Germany)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: SRI International Corp., Local Measurement of Tropospheric HO(x)
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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