Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic

Journal metrics

IF value: 3.668
IF 5-year value: 3.707
IF 5-year
CiteScore value: 6.3
SNIP value: 1.383
IPP value: 3.75
SJR value: 1.525
Scimago H <br class='widget-line-break'>index value: 77
Scimago H
h5-index value: 49
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  21 Jul 2020

21 Jul 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Introducing the Extended Volatility Range Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometer (EVR PTR-MS)

Felix Piel1,2,a, Markus Müller1, Klaus Winkler1, Jenny Skytte af Sätra3,b, and Armin Wisthaler2,3 Felix Piel et al.
  • 1IONICON Analytik, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Institute for Ion Physics and Applied Physics, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 3Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • anow at: Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • bnow at: Norwegian Environment Agency, Oslo, Norway

Abstract. Proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) is widely used in atmospheric sciences for measuring volatile organic compounds in real time. In the most widely used type of PTR-MS instruments, air is directly introduced into a chemical ionization reactor via an inlet capillary system. The reactor has a volumetric exchange time of ~ 0.1 s enabling PTR-MS analyzers to measure at a frequency of 10 Hz. The time response does, however, deteriorate if low-volatility analytes interact with surfaces in the inlet or in the instrument. Herein, we present the “Extended Volatility Range” (EVR) PTR-MS instrument which mitigates this issue. In the EVR configuration, inlet capillaries are made of passivated stainless steel and all wetted metal parts in the chemical ionization reactor are surface-passivated with a functionalized hydrogenated amorphous silicon coating. Heating the entire set-up to 120 °C further improves the time-response performance.

We carried out time-response performance tests on a set of 29 analytes having saturation mass concentrations C0 in the range between 10−3 and 105 µg m−3. 1/e-signal decay times after instant removal of the analyte from the sampling flow were between 0.2 and 90 s for gaseous analytes. We also tested the EVR PTR-MS instrument in combination with the CHARON particle inlet, and 1/e-signal decay times were in the range between 5 and 35 s for particulate analytes. We show on a set of exemplary compounds that the time-response performance of the EVR PTR-MS instrument is comparable to that of fastest flow tube chemical ionization mass spectrometers that are currently in use. The fast time response can be used for rapid (~ 1 min equilibration time) switching between gas and particle measurements. The CHARON EVR PTR-MS instrument can thus be used for real-time monitoring of both gaseous and particulate organics in the atmosphere. Finally, we show that the CHARON EVR PTR-MS instrument is capable of detecting highly oxygenated species (with up to eight oxygen atoms) in particles formed by limonene ozonolysis.

Felix Piel et al.

Interactive discussion

Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment

Felix Piel et al.


Total article views: 262 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
144 108 10 262 24 8 15
  • HTML: 144
  • PDF: 108
  • XML: 10
  • Total: 262
  • Supplement: 24
  • BibTeX: 8
  • EndNote: 15
Views and downloads (calculated since 21 Jul 2020)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 21 Jul 2020)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 346 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 345 with geography defined and 1 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1



No saved metrics found.


No discussed metrics found.
Latest update: 27 Oct 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) instruments are widely used in the atmospheric community for measuring organic trace substances in the Earth's atmosphere. Some of these substances “stick” and slowly come off surfaces in the PTR-MS analyzer which makes it impossible to measure rapid changes in the atmosphere. Herein, we present a new type of PTR-MS instrument with a specially treated surface that greatly mitigates this problem.
Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS) instruments are widely used in the...