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Open Access A New Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (TOF-AMS)—Instrument Description and First Field Deployment

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We report the development and first field deployment of a new version of the Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS), which is capable of measuring non-refractory aerosol mass concentrations, chemically speciated mass distributions and single particle information. The instrument was constructed by interfacing the well-characterized Aerodyne AMS vacuum system, particle focusing, sizing, and evaporation/ionization components, with a compact TOFWERK orthogonal acceleration reflectron time-of-flight mass spectrometer. In this time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (TOF-AMS) aerosol particles are focused by an aerodynamic lens assembly as a narrow beam into the vacuum chamber. Non-refractory particle components flash-vaporize after impaction onto the vaporizer and are ionized by electron impact. The ions are continuously guided into the source region of the time-of-flight mass spectrometer, where ions are extracted into the TOF section at a repetition rate of 83.3 kHz. Each extraction generates a complete mass spectrum, which is processed by a fast (sampling rate 1 Gs/s) data acquisition board and a PC. Particle size information is obtained by chopping the particle beam followed by time-resolved detection of the particle evaporation events. Due to the capability of the time-of-flight mass spectrometer of measuring complete mass spectra for every extraction, complete single particle mass spectra can be collected. This mode provides quantitative information on single particle composition. The TOF-AMS allows a direct measurement of internal and external mixture of non-refractory particle components as well as sensitive ensemble average particle composition and chemically resolved size distribution measurements. Here we describe for the first time the TOF-AMS and its operation as well as results from its first field deployment during the PM 2.5 Technology Assessment and Characterization Study—New York (PMTACS-NY) Winter Intensive in January 2004 in Queens, New York. These results show the capability of the TOF-AMS to measure quantitative aerosol composition and chemically resolved size distributions of the ambient aerosol. In addition it is shown that the single particle information collected with the instrument gives direct information about internal and external mixture of particle components.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Cloud Physics and Chemistry Department, Mainz, Germany 2: Institute for Atmospheric Physics, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany 3: Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts, USA 4: TOFWERK AG, Thun, Switzerland 5: State University of New York, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, Albany, New York, USA

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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