Precision FT-IR laboratory measurements of atmospheric molecule

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Keeyoon Sung, Linda R. Brown and Timothy J. Crawford, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
Spectroscopic information is crucial a priori input to interpret atmospheric spectroscopic observations through radiative transfer modeling. The spectroscopic observations lead us to determine the physical and chemical conditions (e.g., atmospheric pressure, temperatures, composition, abundances …). In order to avoid false interpretations of the observed spectra, the molecular spectroscopic information (either line parameters or cross sections) must be sufficiently accurate and complete.

 To achieve this goal, we employ a broad-band Fourier transform spectrometer, Bruker IFS-125HR equipped with multiple detectors (He-cooled bolometers, N2-cooled MCT and InSb, warm InGaAs, Boron-doped silicates, photodiode) and beamsplitters (Mylars, KBr, CaF2, Quartz) sufficient to cover entire infrared spectra region from 20 to 15000 cm-1. We vacuum-couple up to 15 different absorption cells to the FT-IR, including five coolable cells with optical path lengths ranging from 0.02 m to 52 m; three of them are capable of reaching temperatures down to 50 K. We also have one heatable cell reaching 400 K. Finally, an extra vacuum chamber newly implemented to the Bruker 125HR enables both emission and absorption spectroscopy utilizing the emission port of the FT-IR.

Recently, several studies of atmospheric molecules have been completed using the FT-IR at JPL in support of the Earth, terrestrial and planetary atmospheric remote sensing. These include analyses of C3H8 (propane) and 16O12C17O mid- and near-infrared regions, 13C12CH6 and 12C2H6 at longer wavelengths. In addition, we are studying the O2(A) line mixing and collision-induced absorption in the O2 A-band at 0.76 µm, as well as temperature-dependent cross sections of C6H6 (benzene) and C3H6 (propene) in the mid-infrared region. We will present an overview of results and work in progress.

[Research described in this paper was performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Connecticut College, and NASA Langley Research Center, under contracts and cooperative agreements with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.]