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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 4, issue 6
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 1209–1225, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 1209–1225, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 28 Jun 2011

Research article | 28 Jun 2011

Detection of HO2 by laser-induced fluorescence: calibration and interferences from RO2 radicals

H. Fuchs, B. Bohn, A. Hofzumahaus, F. Holland, K. D. Lu, S. Nehr, F. Rohrer, and A. Wahner H. Fuchs et al.
  • Institute of Energy and Climate Research: Troposphere (IEK-8), Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich, Germany

Abstract. HO2 concentration measurements are widely accomplished by chemical conversion of HO2 to OH including reaction with NO and subsequent detection of OH by laser-induced fluorescence. RO2 radicals can be converted to OH via a similar radical reaction sequence including reaction with NO, so that they are potential interferences for HO2 measurements. Here, the conversion efficiency of various RO2 species to HO2 is investigated. Experiments were conducted with a radical source that produces OH and HO2 by water photolysis at 185 nm, which is frequently used for calibration of LIF instruments. The ratio of HO2 and the sum of OH and HO2 concentrations provided by the radical source was investigated and was found to be 0.50 ± 0.02. RO2 radicals are produced by the reaction of various organic compounds with OH in the radical source. Interferences via chemical conversion from RO2 radicals produced by the reaction of OH with methane and ethane (H-atom abstraction) are negligible consistent with measurements in the past. However, RO2 radicals from OH plus alkene- and aromatic-precursors including isoprene (mainly OH-addition) are detected with a relative sensitivity larger than 80 % with respect to that for HO2 for the configuration of the instrument with which it was operated during field campaigns. Also RO2 from OH plus methyl vinyl ketone and methacrolein exhibit a relative detection sensitivity of 60 %. Thus, previous measurements of HO2 radical concentrations with this instrument were biased in the presence of high RO2 radical concentrations from isoprene, alkenes or aromatics, but were not affected by interferences in remote clean environment with no significant emissions of biogenic VOCs, when the OH reactivity was dominated by small alkanes. By reducing the NO concentration and/or the transport time between NO addition and OH detection, interference from these RO2 species are suppressed to values below 20 % relative to the HO2 detection sensitivity. The HO2 conversion efficiency is also smaller by a factor of four, but this is still sufficient for atmospheric HO2 concentration measurements for a wide range of conditions.

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