Calibration of a multi-pass photoacoustic spectrometer cell using light-absorbing aerosols
Abstract. The multi-pass photoacoustic spectrometer (PAS) is an important tool for the direct measurement of light absorption by atmospheric aerosol. Accurate PAS measurements heavily rely on accurate calibration of their signal. Ozone is often used for calibrating PAS instruments by relating the photoacoustic signal to the absorption coefficient measured by an independent method such as cavity ring down spectroscopy (CRD-S), cavity-enhanced spectroscopy (CES) or an ozone monitor. We report here a calibration method that uses measured absorption coefficients of aerosolized, light-absorbing organic materials and offer an alternative approach to calibrate photoacoustic aerosol spectrometers at 404 nm. To implement this method, we first determined the complex refractive index of nigrosin, an organic dye, using spectroscopic ellipsometry and then used this well-characterized material as a standard material for PAS calibration.