Low-pressure gas chromatography with chemical ionization mass spectrometry for quantification of multifunctional organic compounds in the atmosphere
Oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOCs) are formed during the oxidation of gas-phase hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. However, analytical challenges have hampered ambient measurements for many of these species, leaving unanswered questions regarding their atmospheric fate. We present the development of an in situ gas chromatography (GC) technique that, when combined with the sensitive and specific detection of chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS), is capable of the isomer-resolved detection of a wide range of OVOCs. The instrument addresses many of the issues typically associated with chromatographic separation of such compounds (e.g., analyte degradation). The performance of the instrumentation is assessed through data obtained in the laboratory and during two field studies. We show that this instrument is able to successfully measure otherwise difficult-to-quantify compounds (e.g., organic hydroperoxides and organic nitrates) and observe the diurnal variations in a number of their isomers.