The quantitative determination of gaseous formic acid and acetic acid by photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS) using pulsed laser excitation in the ultraviolet is reported. Instrumentation utilizing continuously tunable laser excitation in the 220-nm wavelength region is used to record time-resolved PA signals from samples of each acid. Detection limits of 140 ppbv for formic acid and 120 ppbv for acetic acid in dry nitrogen at one atmosphere total pressure are attained. Considerable background signal originating from atmospheric oxygen is found to impose limitations on the detection sensitivity with air samples.

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