A switchable reagent ion high resolution time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometer for real-time measurement of gas phase oxidized species: characterization from the 2013 southern oxidant and aerosol study
Abstract. A novel configuration of the Aerodyne high resolution time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometer (HR-TOF-CIMS) as a switchable reagent ion (SRI) HR-TOF-CIMS is presented and described along with data collected at the Southern Oxidant and Aerosol Study (SOAS) during the summer of 2013. The calibration system and reduced pressure gas phase inlet are characterized. The average limit of detection and limit of quantification for formic acid during SOAS are 82 and 863 ppt, respectively, corresponding to an average sensitivity of 13 ± 5 Hz ppt−1. Hourly background determinations and calibrations are shown to be essential for tracking instrument performance and accurately quantifying formic acid. Maximum daytime formic acid concentrations of 10 ppb are reported during SOAS, and a strong diel cycle is observed leading to nighttime concentrations below the limit of quantification. Other species presented exhibit diel behavior similar to formic acid. The concept of the mass defect enhancement plot and the use of signal-to-noise are described in detail as a method for investigating HR-TOF-CIMS spectra in an effort to reduce data complexity.