EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A portable, high-precision optical analyzer based on hybrid laser absorption cell for simultaneous measurements of N2O, CH4, and CO2 fluxes from soils

Longfei Yu1, Ying Wang2, Zetong Niu1, Zhelin Su3, Lintao Zheng3, and Ting-Jung Lin3
Longfei Yu et al.
  • 1Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen, China (
  • 2HealthyPhoton (Ningbo) Technology Co., Ltd., Ningbo, China (
  • 3Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, China (

Laser spectrometers have shown good capability in measuring mixing ratios for atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs). Given the fact that spectral bands of CO2, CH4, and N2O covering from near to mid-infrared (NIR to MIR) wavelengths, and the limitations in the wavelength coverage of the laser and photodetector, it is very challenging to analyze CO2, CH4, and N2O simultaneously for most cavity-enhanced analyzers using NIR lasers. Alternative solutions, such as combining multiple quantum cascade laser (QCL) beams and analyzing all GHGs in the MIR wavelengths, would significantly increase the instrumental cost.

Here, we present a recently developed analyzer utilizing the advantages of detecting CO2/H2O in the NIR spectral region and N2O/CH4 in the MIR region, respectively. Through a unique optical design, two independent optical paths are formed in a single Herriott gas cell so that low temperature-related drift and mechanical robustness are achieved. The mixing ratios of CO2 and H2O are analyzed by a NIR laser and a photodetector at ~4995cm-1, while CH4 and N2O are analyzed by a QCL and an MCT photodetector at ~1275cm-1. The analyzer facilitates high-sensitivity, field-deployable measurements of CO2, CH4, N2O and H2O altogether in a compact, portable instrumental design. In addition, this analyzer can be completely powered by rechargeable battery, facilitating all-day in situ measurements without grid power supply.

In the laboratory, side-to-side comparisons were performed between our newly developed analyzer and another commercial gas analyzer based on cavity ring down spectroscopy (CRDS). The results showed high consistency in GHG mixing-ratio measurements with the two spectrometers. Attached to soil chambers, we also found comparable performance of two analyzers in determining GHG fluxes. In particular, we found that the presented analyzer could precisely capture transient changes in gas mixing ratios from the soil chamber. Recently, field deployment in different soil conditions, including upland forest soils and riparian soils, was carried out for simultaneous N2O, CH4, CO2 soil flux measurements. The overall results suggest that our analyzer is suitable for continuous GHG flux monitoring under variable field conditions, and shows potentials in simultaneous measurements of multiple GHG fluxes from natural ecosystems.

How to cite: Yu, L., Wang, Y., Niu, Z., Su, Z., Zheng, L., and Lin, T.-J.: A portable, high-precision optical analyzer based on hybrid laser absorption cell for simultaneous measurements of N2O, CH4, and CO2 fluxes from soils, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5232,, 2023.