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IONICON PTR-TOF-MS helps providing new insights and a SCIENCE paper

Extremely large range of VOCs are a challenge to current emission, air quality, and global climate models.

J.-H. Park et al. were relying on an IONICON PTR-TOF 8000 instrument to study fluxes of an unprecedented number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) simultaneously. Their results, “Active Atmosphere-Ecosystem Exchange of the Vast Majority of Detected Volatile Organic Compounds“, have recently been published in the prestigious SCIENCE Magazine. Using traditional measurement techniques, monitoring of VOCs was limited to a few selected compounds, the authors explain, whereas PTR-TOFMS technology reveals 186 organic ions with a net deposition, and 494 that have bidirectional flux.

Abstract: 

Numerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) exist in Earth’s atmosphere, most of which originate from biogenic emissions. Despite VOCs’ critical role in tropospheric chemistry, studies for evaluating their atmosphere-ecosystem exchange (emission and deposition) have been limited to a few dominant compounds owing to a lack of appropriate measurement techniques. Using a high–mass resolution proton transfer reaction–time of flight–mass spectrometer and an absolute value eddy-covariance method, we directly measured 186 organic ions with net deposition, and 494 that have bidirectional flux. This observation of active atmosphere-ecosystem exchange of the vast majority of detected VOCs poses a challenge to current emission, air quality, and global climate models, which do not account for this extremely large range of compounds. This observation also provides new insight for
understanding the atmospheric VOC budget.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1235053

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