EGU21-502, updated on 03 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Peroxy radical measurements by photoacoustic spectroscopy coupled to chemical amplification

Weidong Chen1, Gaoxuan Wang1, Ahmad Lahib2,3, Marius Duncianu2, Qian Gou4, Philip S. Stevens3,5, Sébastien Dusanter2, Alexandre Tomas2, and Markus W. Sigrist6
Weidong Chen et al.
  • 1Laboratoire de Physicochimie de l’Atmosphère, Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, 59140 Dunkerque, France
  • 2IMT Lille Douai, Univ. Lille, SAGE-Sciences de l'Atmosphère et Génie de l'Environnement, 59000 Lille, France
  • 3Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
  • 4School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chongqing University, 401331 Chongqing, China
  • 5Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
  • 6Laser Spectroscopy and Sensing Laboratory, Institute for Quantum Electronics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Peroxy radicals (HO2+RO2) are crucial intermediates in many key atmospheric processes and contribute to the formation of major air pollutants, such as ozone and secondary organic aerosols1. Due to their high reactivity and their extremely low concentrations (typically <100 pptv), in-situ real time and interference-free measurements of peroxy radicals remain challenging. In the present work, photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS)2 is applied, for the first time to our best knowledge, to the measurements of peroxy radicals with the help of the well established chemical amplification approach. Peroxy radical chemical amplification (PERCA)3 is based on chemical conversion of peroxy randicals into NO2 and followed by chemical amplification to achieve the necessary measurement sensitivity for the measurement of atmospheric peroxy radical concentration. The resulting NO2 concentration is measured by PAS to infer the total concentration of peroxy radicals. The performance of the developed PERCA-PAS approach was demonstrated with a reference ECHAMP chemical amplification system using cavity attenuated phase shift spectroscopy (CAPS) for NO2 monitoring. The determined amplification gains (referred to as chain length, CL) of the ECHAMP system using PAS are well consistent with the values determined using CAPS. A 1-σ limit of detection of ~12 pptv for peroxy radicals was achieved in an integration time of 90 s at a relative humidity of about 9.8%. The detection limit of the current ECHAMP-PAS system can be further improved by using higher laser power and increasing the number of microphones in the photoacoustic spectrophone, which would allow reaching sub-pptv detection limits for the measurements of peroxy radicals in the atmosphere.

This work provides a promising technique to develop novel compact and very cost-effective (compared to all methods currently used) sensors, which will allow readily developing network measurements and investigation of the spatial distribution of peroxy radicals in the atmosphere.

Acknowledgments. This work is supported by the French national research agency (ANR) under MABCaM and LABEX-CaPPA contracts, the European Funds for Regional Economic Development through the CaPPA project, the CPER-CLIMIBIO program, the LEFE/CHAT INSU program. It is also supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22073013), Natural Science Foundation of Chongqing (cstc2018jcyjAX0050) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2020CDJXZ002).


[1] J. J. Orlando, G. S. Tyndall, Laboratory studies of organic peroxy radical chemistry: an overview with emphasis on recent issues of atmospheric significance, Chem. Soc. Rev. 41(2012) 6294-6317.

[2] W. Chen et al., Photonic Sensing of reactive atmospheric species, in Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a9432.

[3] C. Cantrell, D. Stedman, A possible technique for the measurement of atmospheric peroxy radicals, Geophys. Res. Lett. 9 (1982) 846-849.

How to cite: Chen, W., Wang, G., Lahib, A., Duncianu, M., Gou, Q., Stevens, P. S., Dusanter, S., Tomas, A., and Sigrist, M. W.: Peroxy radical measurements by photoacoustic spectroscopy coupled to chemical amplification, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-502,, 2021.