A lightweight near-infrared spectrometer for the detection of trace atmospheric species

Gardiner, T.; Mead, M. I.; Garcelon, S.; Robinson, R.; Swann, N.; Hansford, G. M.; Woods, P. T.; Jones, R. L.
August 2010
Review of Scientific Instruments;Aug2010, Vol. 81 Issue 8, p083102
Academic Journal
This paper describes the development and deployment of a lightweight in situ near-infrared tunable diode laser absorption spectrometer (TDLAS) for balloon-borne measurements of trace species such as methane in the upper troposphere and stratosphere. The key feature of the instrument design is its ability to provide high sensitivity measurements with better than 1 part in 106 Hz-1/2 optical sensitivity in a lightweight package weighing as little as 6 kg, and maintaining this level of performance over the wide range of conditions experienced during field measurements. The absolute accuracy for methane measurements is approximately 10% limited by uncertainties in determining the gas temperature in the measurement volume. The high sensitivity and high temporal resolution (2.3 s measurement period) enables details of the fine-scale structure in the atmosphere to be measured. The TDLAS instrument has been used on a number of major international measurement campaigns. Intercomparison with other instruments during these campaigns have confirmed the comparability of the results from this instrument with measurements made by a range of other techniques, and demonstrated the instruments suitability for studies of atmospheric dynamics, transport, and mixing processes.


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