Evaluation of the Salicylic Acid - Liquid Phase Scrubbing Technique to Monitor Atmospheric Hydroxyl Radicals
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-22, 09:40 authored by Rhian SalmonRhian Salmon, C Schiller, G Harris
A novel method has been examined for monitoring tropospheric hydroxyl radicals (OH), the most important oxidant in tropospheric chemistry. Aqueous phase salicylic acid reacts with atmospheric OH to produce 2,5-dihydroxy benzoic acid (2,5-DHBA) and other products. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is used to separate the post-reaction solution and the products are quantified using fluorescence detection. Unlike other methods, it has been reported to be inexpensive, portable and relatively simple. Although the sensitivity was sufficient to measure typical daytime OH concentrations of 0.04-0.4 ppt., the method was hindered by numerous interferences. Successive identification and elimination of these still resulted in a signal that was much larger than expected. Tests showed that this was not likely to be due to ozone, HO2, NOx, H2O2, aerosols, light or bacteria. Experimental and numerical studies suggest that the interference could be due to methyl peroxy radicals. The effect of many other components in the atmosphere, both individual and combined, must also be tested before the method can be used reliably in the field. The validity of previous reports of ambient hydroxyl measurements using this technique is therefore brought into question. © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.