Abstract

The balloonborne SPIRALE (a French acronym for infrared absorption spectroscopy by tunable diode lasers) instrument has been developed for in situ measurements of several tracer and chemically active species in the stratosphere. Laser absorption takes place in an open Herriott multipass cell located under the balloon gondola, with six lead salt diode lasers as light sources. One mirror is located at the extremity of a deployable mast 3.5 m below the gondola, enabling the measurement of very low abundance species throughout a very long absorption path (up to 544 m). Three successful flights have produced concentration measurements of O3, CO, CO2, CH4, N2O, NO2, NO, HNO3, HCl, HOCl, COF2, and H2O2. Fast measurements (every 1.1 s) allow one to obtain a vertical resolution of 5 m for the profiles. A detection limit of a few tens of parts per trillion in volume has been demonstrated. Uncertainties of 3%–5% are estimated for the most abundant species rising to about 30% for the less abundant ones, mainly depending on the laser linewidth and the signal-to-noise ratio.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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