Quantitative detection of carbonyl sulphide in the field

A NEW ultra-sensitive gas analyser which measures ambient air for carbonyl sulphide (OCS or COS), with simultaneous measurement of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), and water vapour (H2O), has been launched by Los Gatos Research.

The new OCS Analyser requires no sample drying or pre-treatment, simplifying operation in the field and in the laboratory.

OCS is an atmospheric gas that is gaining interest as a useful tracer to assess gross photosynthesis activity in plant canopies. Plants uptake OCS and CO2 during respiration, but only generate CO2 by photosynthesis.

Simultaneous logging of the concentrations of both gas species thus enables net photosynthetic production to be monitored.

OCS is the most abundant sulphur-containing gas in the atmosphere, and has been implicated in controlling the sulphur budget and aerosol loading of the stratosphere. Since OCS is typically present in air at about 500 parts per trillion (global average), measurement demands extreme sensitivity.

LGR precision gas analysers are based on patented Off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy (OA-Icos) technology, which the company says is more rugged and more precise than techniques such as conventional cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRDS).

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