High-precision analysis of SF6 at ambient level
Abstract. This work reports on the development of a technique for the precise analysis of ambient SF6. This technique, which involves a gas chromatograph/electron capture detector (GC-ECD) coupled with an Activated Alumina-F1 (AA-F1) column, performed well in the measurements, particularly in terms of accuracy, which complies with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)-recommended compatibility of 0.02 ppt. Compared to the Porapak Q technique, we observed a sharper peak shape for the SF6 stream, which substantiates the improvement in the analytical precision. The traceability to the WMO scale was tested by calibrating the GC-ECD/AA-F1 analyser using five SF6 standards provided by the WMO/Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Central Calibration Laboratory (CCL) for SF6 (NOAA, United States of America). After calibration by various methods, the GC-ECD/AA-F1 accurately estimated the mole fraction of SF6 in the working standard prepared by the World Calibration Centre for SF6 operated by the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA)/Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS). Among the calibration methods, the two-point calibration method emerged to be the most economical procedure in terms of the data quality and measurement time. It was found that the KRISS scale of SF6/N2 was biased by 0.13 ppt when compared to the WMO scale of SF6/air; this bias is probably due to a different matrix.