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Keywords:

  • carbonyls;
  • alcohols;
  • measurements

[1] A fast response gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (FGCMS) instrument to measure ≤C2 through C4 carbonyl compounds and methanol was developed for the NASA Global Tropospheric Experiment (GTE) Transport and Chemical Evolution over the Pacific (TRACE-P) mission. The system consists of four major components: sample inlet, preconcentration system, gas chromatograph (GC), and detector. The preconcentration system is a custom-built cryogen-conservative system. The GC is a compact, custom-built unit that can be temperature programmed and rapidly cooled. Detection is accomplished with an Agilent Technologies 5973 mass spectrometer. The FGCMS instrument provides positive identification because the compounds are chromatographically separated and mass selected. During TRACE-P, a sample was analyzed every 5 min. The FGCMS limit of detection was between 5 and 75 pptv, depending on the compound. The entire instrument package is contained in a standard NASA instrument rack (106 cm × 61 cm × 135 cm), consumes less than 1200 watts and is fully automated with LabVIEW™ 6i. Methods were developed for producing highly accurate gas phase standards for the target compounds and for testing the system in the presence of potential interferents. This paper presents data on these tests and on the general overall performance of the system in the laboratory and aboard the DC-8 aircraft during the mission. Vertical profiles for acetaldehyde, methanol, acetone, propanal, methyl ethyl ketone, and butanal from FGCMS data collected over the entire mission are also presented.