Development of a Thermal/Optical Carbon Analyzer with Multi-Wavelength Capabilities

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Benjamin Sumlin1,2, Judith C. Chow2, John G Watson2, Xiaoliang Wang2, Steve Gronstal1,2, L.W. Antony Chen2 and Dana Trimble2, (1)University of Nevada Reno, Atmospheric Sciences Program, Department of Physics, Reno, NV, United States, (2)Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, United States
A thermal/optical carbon analyzer (DRI Model 2015) equipped with a novel seven-wavelength light source (405, 445, 532, 635, 780, 808, and 980 nm) was developed to analyze chemical and optical properties of particles collected on quartz-fiber filters. Based on the DRI Model 2001 carbon analyzer at 633 nm, major modifications were made on mechanical and electrical components, flow control, and the carbon detector to adopt modern technologies, increase instrument reliability, and reduce costs and maintenance. The correlation between wavelength-dependent light attenuation and organic and elemental carbon (OC and EC, respectively) content allows estimation of the amount of brown and black carbon (BrC and BC, respectively) on filters. Continuous monitoring of the light reflected from and transmitted through the filter along with carbon evolved from the filter when heated to different temperatures under either inert or oxidizing gas environments provides insights into the optical properties of the carbon released from the filter; it also allows examination of the charring process as pyrolyzed char has been one of the major uncertainties in quantifying OC and EC. The objectives of this study are: 1) establish performance equivalency between the Model 2015 and Model 2001 DRI carbon analyzers when comparing similar laser wavelength to maintain consistency for long-term network sample analysis; and 2) analyze the multi-wavelength signal to quantify BrC and BC, and to optimize char correction. A selection of samples, including standard chemicals, rural and urban ambient filters, and emission sources from biomass burning, diesel and gasoline engine exhaust, and resuspended dust were measured by both the Model 2015 and Model 2001 analyzers. The instrument design, calibration, comparison with legacy analyzer, and interpretation of the multi-wavelengths measurement will be presented.