Tropospheric Chemistry: VOC Instruments

Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS)

PTRMS instrument
PTR-MS instrument installed in rack on NOAA WP-3D aircraft

Principle of the Measurement

Ionization of VOCs by proton transfer with hydronium ions (H3O+)
Detection using a quadrupole mass spectrometer

Species Measured

  1. Aromatics
  2. Biogenic VOCs (isoprene, monoterpenes)
  3. Alcohols
  4. Ketones
  5. Acids
  6. Aldehydes
  7. Nitriles
  8. Peroxy nitrates
  9. Dimethyl sulfide

Time Response / Detection Limit

1-10 seconds / 10-100 pptv


Ionicon Analytik

Field Projects

Deployed onboard the NOAA WP-3D (and other research aircraft), the NOAA R/V Ronald H. Brown, the CSD mobile laboratory, and at several ground sites.

Key Publications

J. A. de Gouw, and C. Warneke, Measurements of volatile organic compounds in the Earth's atmosphere using proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry, Mass Spectrometry Reviews, doi:10.1002/mas.20119, 2007.

J. A. de Gouw, C. Warneke, R. Holzinger, T. Klupfel, and J. Williams, Inter-comparison between airborne measurements of methanol, acetonitrile and acetone using two differently configured PTR-MS instruments, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, doi:10.1016/j.ijms.2004.07.025, 2004.

J. A. de Gouw, P. D. Goldan, C. Warneke, W. C. Kuster, J. M. Roberts, M. Marchewka, S. B. Bertman, A. A. P. Pszenny, and W. C. Keene, Validation of proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) measurements of gas-phase organic compounds in the atmosphere during the New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS) in 2002, Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, doi:10.1029/2003JD003863, 2003.

C. Warneke, J. A. de Gouw, W. C. Kuster, P. D. Goldan, and R. Fall, Validation of atmospheric VOC measurements by proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry using a gas-chromatographic preseparation method, Environmental Science & Technology, doi:10.1021/es026266i, 2003.

J. A. de Gouw, C. Warneke, T. Karl, G. Eerdekens, C. van der Veen, and R. Fall, Sensitivity and specificity of atmospheric trace gas detection by proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, doi:10.1016/S1387-3806(02)00926-0, 2003.

C. Warneke, C. van der Veen, S. Luxembourg, J. A. de Gouw, and A. Kok, Measurements of benzene and toluene in ambient air using proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry: calibration, humidity dependence, and field intercomparison, International Journal of Mass Spectrometry, doi:10.1016/S1387-3806(01)00366-9, 2001.