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An automated monitoring system for VOC ozone precursors in ambient air: development, implementation and data analysis

Badol, C., Borbon, A., Locoge, N., Léonardis, T., Galloo, J.-C.
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2004 v.378 no.7 pp. 1815-1827
air, air quality, desorption, detection limit, instrumentation, monitoring, ozone, quality control, temperature, volatile organic compounds
An automated system for the monitoring of volatile organic compound (VOC) ozone precursors in ambient air is described. The measuring technique consists of subambient preconcentration on a cooled trap followed by thermal desorption and GC/FID analysis. First, the technical development, which permits detection limits below 0.05 ppbv to be reached, proceeded in two steps: (1) the determination of optimum sampling parameters (trap composition and conditioning, outlet split, desorption temperature); (2) the development of a reliable calibration method based on a highly accurate standard. Then, a 4-year field application of the hourly measuring chain was carried out at two urban sites. On the one hand, quality control procedures provided the best VOC identification (peak assignment) and quantification (reproducibility, blank system control). On the other hand, the success and performances of the routine experience (88% of the measurements covered more than 40 target compounds) indicated the high quality and suitability of the instrumentation which is actually applied in several French air quality monitoring networks. Finally, an example of data analysis is presented. Data handling identified important organic compound sources other than vehicle exhaust.