Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
Research article
04 Feb 2011
Research article |  | 04 Feb 2011

An aircraft-borne chemical ionization – ion trap mass spectrometer (CI-ITMS) for fast PAN and PPN measurements

A. Roiger, H. Aufmhoff, P. Stock, F. Arnold, and H. Schlager

Abstract. An airborne chemical ionization ion trap mass spectrometer instrument (CI-ITMS) has been developed for tropospheric and stratospheric fast in-situ measurements of PAN (peroxyacetyl nitrate) and PPN (peroxypropionyl nitrate). The first scientific deployment of the FASTPEX instrument (FASTPEX = Fast Measurement of Peroxyacyl nitrates) took place in the Arctic during 18 missions aboard the DLR research aircraft Falcon, within the framework of the POLARCAT-GRACE campaign in the summer of 2008. The FASTPEX instrument is described and characteristic properties of the employed ion trap mass spectrometer are discussed. Atmospheric data obtained at altitudes of up to ~12 km are presented, from the boundary layer to the lowermost stratosphere. Data were sampled with a time resolution of 2 s and a 2σ detection limit of 25 pmol mol−1. An isotopically labelled standard was used for a permanent on-line calibration. For this reason the accuracy of the PAN measurements is better than ±10% for mixing ratios greater than 200 pmol mol−1. PAN mixing ratios in the summer Arctic troposphere were in the order of a few hundred pmol mol−1 and generally correlated well with CO. In the Arctic boundary layer and lowermost stratosphere smaller PAN mixing ratios were observed due to a combination of missing local sources of PAN precursor gases and efficient removal processes (thermolysis/photolysis). PPN, the second most abundant PAN homologue, was measured simultaneously. Observed PPN/PAN ratios range between ~0.03 and 0.3.