Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 345–357, 2014
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 345–357, 2014

Research article 03 Feb 2014

Research article | 03 Feb 2014

Cavity ring-down spectroscopy sensor for detection of hydrogen chloride

C. L. Hagen1,*, B. C. Lee2, I. S. Franka1, J. L. Rath1, T. C. VandenBoer4,**, J. M. Roberts3, S. S. Brown3, and A. P. Yalin1 C. L. Hagen et al.
  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
  • 2Department of Physics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
  • 3NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 4Department of Chemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada
  • *now at: Oregon State University-Cascades, Bend, Oregon, USA
  • **now at: Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Abstract. A laser-based cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) sensor for measurement of hydrogen chloride (HCl) has been developed and characterized. The instrument uses light from a distributed-feedback diode laser at 1742 nm coupled to a high finesse optical cavity to make sensitive and quantifiable concentration measurements of HCl based on optical absorption. The instrument has a (1σ) limit of detection of <20 pptv in 1 min and has high specificity to HCl. The measurement response time to changes in input HCl concentration is <15 s. Validation studies with a previously calibrated permeation tube setup show an accuracy of better than 10%. The CRDS sensor was preliminarily tested in the field with two other HCl instruments (mist chamber and chemical ionization mass spectrometry), all of which were in broad agreement. The mist chamber and CRDS sensors both showed a 400 pptv plume within 50 pptv agreement. The sensor also allows simultaneous sensitive measurements of water and methane, and minimal hardware modification would allow detection of other near-infrared absorbers.