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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-443
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-443
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Jan 2019

Research article | 07 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

A new laser–based and ultra–portable gas sensor for indoor and outdoor formaldehyde (HCHO) monitoring

Joshua D. Shutter1, Norton T. Allen2, Thomas F. Hanisco4, Glenn M. Wolfe4,5, Jason M. St. Clair4,5, and Frank N. Keutsch1,2,3 Joshua D. Shutter et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
  • 2Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
  • 3Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
  • 4Atmospheric Chemistry and Dynamics Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
  • 5Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21228, USA

Abstract. In this work, a new commercially available, laser–based, and ultra–portable formaldehyde (HCHO) gas sensor is characterized, and its usefulness for monitoring HCHO mixing ratios in both indoor and outdoor environments is assessed. Stepped calibrations and intercomparison with well–established laser–induced fluorescence (LIF) instrumentation allow a performance evaluation of the absorption-based, mid–infrared HCHO sensor from Aeris Technologies, Inc. The Aeris sensor displays linear behavior (R-squared >0.940) and shows good agreement with LIF instruments from Harvard and NASA Goddard. A non–linear least–squares fitting algorithm developed independently of the sensor's manufacturer to fit the sensor's raw absorption data during post-processing further improves instrument performance. The 3σ limit of detection (LOD) for a 15 and 60min integration time is 690 and 420pptv HCHO, respectively, for mixing ratios reported in real-time, though the LOD improves to 570 and 300pptv HCHO, respectively, during post-processing. This sub-ppbv precision is sufficient for most HCHO levels measured in indoor and outdoor environments. While the compact Aeris sensor is currently not a replacement for the most sensitive research–grade instrumentation available, its usefulness for monitoring HCHO is clearly demonstrated.

Joshua D. Shutter et al.
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Joshua D. Shutter et al.
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Short summary
A new mid-infrared and ultra-portable formaldehyde (HCHO) sensor from Aeris Technologies is characterized and evaluated against well-established laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) instrumentation. The Aeris sensor displays linear behavior (R-squared > 0.94) and shows good agreement with LIF instruments. While the compact sensor is not currently a replacement for the most sensitive research-grade instrumentation available, its sub-ppbv precision is sufficient for indoor and outdoor HCHO monitoring.
A new mid-infrared and ultra-portable formaldehyde (HCHO) sensor from Aeris Technologies is...
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