A UV–Vis Photoacoustic Spectrophotometer

A novel photoacoustic spectrophotometer (PAS) for the measurement of gas-phase and aerosol absorption over the UV–visible region of the spectrum is described. Light from a broadband Hg arc lamp is filtered in eight separate bands from 300 to 700 nm using bandpass interference filters (centered at 301 nm, 314 nm, 364 nm, 405 nm, 436 nm, 546 nm, 578 and 687 nm) and modulated with an optical chopper before entering the photoacoustic cell. All wavelength bands feature a 20-s detection limit of better than 3.0 Mm<sup>–1</sup> with the exception of the lower-intensity 687 nm band for which it is 10.2 Mm<sup>–1</sup>. Validation measurements of gas-phase acetone and nigrosin aerosol absorption cross sections at several wavelengths demonstrate agreement to within 10% with those measured previously (for acetone) and those predicted by Mie theory (for nigrosin). The PAS instrument is used to measure the UV–visible absorption spectrum of ambient aerosol demonstrating a dramatic increase in the UV region with absorption increasing by 300% from 405 to 301 nm. This type of measurement throughout the UV–visible region and free from artifacts associated with filter-based methods has not been possible previously, and we demonstrate its promise for classifying and quantifying different types of light-absorbing ambient particles.