Measurement of gas-phase ammonia and amines in air by collection onto an ion exchange resin and analysis by ion chromatography
Abstract. Ammonia and amines are common trace gases in the atmosphere and have a variety of both biogenic and anthropogenic sources, with a major contribution coming from agricultural sites. In addition to their malodorous nature, both ammonia and amines have been shown to enhance particle formation from acids such as nitric, sulfuric and methanesulfonic acids, which has implications for visibility, human health and climate. A key component of quantifying the effects of these species on particle formation is accurate gas-phase measurements in both laboratory and field studies. However, these species are notoriously difficult to measure as they are readily taken up on surfaces, including onto glass surfaces from aqueous solution as established in the present studies. We describe here a novel technique for measuring gas-phase ammonia and amines that involves uptake onto a weak cation exchange resin followed by extraction and analysis using ion chromatography. Two variants – one for parts per billion concentrations in air and the second with lower (parts per trillion) detection limits – are described. The latter involves the use of a custom-designed high-pressure cartridge to hold the resin for in-line extraction. These methods avoid the use of sampling lines, which can lead to significant inlet losses of these compounds. They also have the advantages of being relatively simple and inexpensive. The applicability of this technique to ambient air is demonstrated in measurements made near a cattle farm in Chino, CA.