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Institute of Energy and Climate Research

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SAPHIR - Concept

The large atmospheric simulation chamber SAPHIR is a tool for the quantitative experimental investigation of tropospheric chemistry under natural condition and the evaluation of photo chemical models. The ultimate goal is the experimental verification of the chemistry of tropospheric trace compounds.

Evaluation of atmospheric photo chemistry

First questions to be addressed:

  • What are the precursors and physical parameters determining the OH concentration?
  • What is the influence of chemical and physical parameters on the lifetime of trace gases?
  • Which factors control the formation of ozone and other secondary pollutants?


Investigation of tropospheric chemistry under natural burdens of trace compounds. However, independent of time varying perturbations like small scale turbulent transport and unquantified local sources and sinks as they are inevitably present in the atmosphere near the ground. Specifically:

  • De-coupling of chemical reactions and natural variability
  • independent variation of trace gas concentrations in large range
  • measuring the settling timing of radical species after pertubation

What is new?

  • Simulation of tropospheric photo chemistry under natural conditions.
  • direct measurement of the most reactive trace gas (OH) simultanously with a complete chemical and physical characterisation of the air
  • direct comparison of field study and simulation experiment
  • international platform for intercomparisons


SAPHIR provides a platform for quantitative, experimental verification and improvement of photo chemical models at realistic concentrations and solar radiation.