Formaldehyde instrument development and boundary layer sulfuric acid: implications for photochemistry

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Title: Formaldehyde instrument development and boundary layer sulfuric acid: implications for photochemistry
Author: Case Hanks, Anne Theresa
Abstract: This work presents the development of a laser-induced fluorescence technique to measure atmospheric formaldehyde. In conjunction with the technique, the design of a compact, narrow linewidth, etalon-tuned titanium:sapphire laser cavity which is pumped by the second harmonic of a kilohertz Nd:YAG laser is also presented. The fundamental tunable range is from 690-1100 nm depending on mirror reflectivities and optics kit used. The conversion efficiency is at least 25% for the fundamental, and 2-3% for intracavity frequency doubling from 3.5-4W 532 nm pump power. The linewidth is < 0.1 cm-1, and the pulsewidth is 18 nsec. Also presented are observations of gas-phase sulfuric acid from the NEAQS-ITCT 2K4 (New England Air Quality Study Intercontinental Transport and Chemical Transformation) field campaign in July and August 2004. Sulfuric acid values are reported for a polluted environment and possible nucleation events as well as particle growth within the boundary layer are explored. Sulfate production rates via gas phase oxidation of sulfur dioxide are also reported. This analysis allows an important test of our ability to predict sulfuric acid concentration and probe its use as a fast time response photochemical tracer for the hydroxyl radical, OH. In comparison, the NASA time-dependent photochemical box model is used to calculate OH concentration. Nighttime H2SO4 values are examined to test our understanding of nocturnal OH levels and oxidation processes. In comparison, sulfuric acid from a large ground based mission in Tecámac, México (near the northern boundary of Mexico City) during MIRAGE-Mex field campaign (March 2006) is presented. The observations in conjunction with the NASA LARc Photochemical box model are used to explore ozone production, nitrate and sulfate formation, and radical levels and radical production rates during the day. The one minute observations of sulfuric acid, sulfur dioxide, and aerosol surface area were again used to calculate OH levels assuming steady state, and are in good agreement with observations of OH (R2 = 0.7). Photochemical activity is found to be a maximum during the morning hours, as seen in ozone and nitrate formation.
Type: Dissertation
Date: 2008-03-31
Publisher: Georgia Institute of Technology
Subject: Formaldehyde
Sulfuric acid
Fluorescence spectroscopy
Sulfuric acid
Atmospheric chemistry
Department: Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Advisor: Committee Chair: Greg Huey; Committee Member: David Tan; Committee Member: Jennifer Olson; Committee Member: Paul Wine; Committee Member: Rodney Weber
Degree: Ph.D.

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