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Chlorine Nitrate Instrument (ClONO2)


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The NO2-ClO-ClONO2-BrO instrument is composed of two separate instruments: A laser-induced fluorescence instrument for the detection of NO2 and a thermal dissociation/resonance fluorescence instrument for the detection of ClO, ClONO2 and BrO.

The NO2 detection system uses laser-induced resonance fluorescence (LIF) for the direct detection of NO2. Ambient air passes through a detection axis where the output of a narrow bandwidth (0.06 cm-1), tunable dye laser operating near 585 nm is used to excite a rovibronic transition in NO2. The excited NO2 molecules are either quenched by collision with air or fluorescence. The NO2 fluorescence is strongly red-shifted, with emission occurring over a broad range of wavelengths from 585 nm to the mid-infrared. The specificity of the technique is accomplished by tuning the laser frequency on and off resonance with a narrow spectral feature (0.04 cm-1) in the NO2 absorption spectrum. The difference between the fluorescence signal on and off resonance is related to the mixing ratio of NO2 through laboratory and in-flight calibrations. The observations are determined with an accuracy (1 sigma) of ±10% ±50 pptv, precision (1 sigma) of ±40 pptv, and a reporting interval of 10 seconds. Higher resolution (0.25 sec) data available on request.

The halogen detection system uses gas-phase thermal dissociation of ambient ClONO2 to produce ClO and NO2 radicals. The pyrolysis is accomplished by passing the air sampled in a 5-cm-square duct through a grid of resistively heated silicon strips at 10 to 20 m/sec, rapidly heating the air to 520 K. The ClO fragment from ClONO2 is converted to Cl atoms by reaction with added NO, and Cl atoms are detected using ultra-violet resonance fluorescence at 118.9 nm. A similar detection axis upstream of the heater provides simultaneous detection of ambient ClO. An identical twin sampling duct provides the capability for diagnostic checks. The flight instrument is calibrated in a laboratory setting with known addition of ClONO2 as a function of pressure, heater temperature and flow velocity. The concentration of ClONO2 is measured with an accuracy and detection limit of ±20% and 10 pptv, respectively, in 35 seconds (all error estimates are 1 sigma). The concentration of ClO is measured with an accuracy and detection limit of ±17% and 3 pptv, respectively, in 35 seconds.

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