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Institute of Energy and Climate Research

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Organic Trace Gases

The research group investigates the chemistry of organic trace gases in the atmosphere. Volatile organic trace gases (VOC) are emitted from biogenic and anthropogenic sources and undergo photochemical reactions. Those reactions lead to gaseous and condensable products, which impact local air quality and lead to the production of secondary organic aerosols influencing the earth’s climate.

Process studies related to the day- and night-time chemistry of VOC in our atmospheric simulation chamber SAPHIR are the main focus of research. We use and develop modern analytical methods for product identification and quantification at mixing ratios found under remote conditions in the lower troposphere. The analytical equipment comprises online methods such as PTR-MS/CIMS, GC-MS/FID and methods dedicated to single compounds such as formaldehyde, based on Hantzsch derivatization.

The application of our measurement methods is complemented in field campaigns such as the planned JULIAC (JUelich Atmospheric Chemistry study) campaign. The focus of research will be to study the seasonal variations of day- and night-time chemistry of VOC in anthropogenically influenced air masses.

To differentiate meteorological and chemical processes during field studies, the research group uses serial drones equipped with small, lightweight sensors. The spacially resolved measurements of physical and chemical parameters within the lower troposphere will support the characterization of the planetary boundary layer, e.g. the PBL height, which significantly influences ground based concentration measurements.