Measurements of nitrous acid (HONO) using ion drift-chemical ionization mass spectrometry during the 2009 SHARP field campaign Academic Article uri icon


  • We have developed a novel approach for ambient measurements of nitrous acid (HONO) using ion drift-chemical ionization mass spectrometry (ID-CIMS). HONO is ionized using the sulfur hexafluoride anion, representing the first application of this reagent ion under humid tropospheric conditions. During the 2009 Study of Houston Atmospheric Radical Precursors (SHARP) Field Campaign, HONO measurements were continuously conducted from 1 May to 1 June at a site located on the campus of the University of Houston. Diurnally, HONO concentration accumulates in the late afternoon, reaches a nighttime maximum, and declines rapidly after sunrise. The nighttime HONO peaks show close correlations with the NO 2 concentration, particle surface area, and soot mass concentration, indicating that the aerosol-phase chemistry likely contributes to HONO formation. A higher nighttime HONO peak concentration typically precedes a higher and earlier ozone peak concentration of the following day, by about 20ppb higher and four hours earlier than those with a lower preceding HONO peak concentration. Because of its high detection sensitivity and fast-responding time, the ID-CIMS method described in this work may greatly facilitate HONO detection under typical tropospheric conditions. 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings

  • Atmospheric Environment

author list (cited authors)

  • Levy, M., Zhang, R., Zheng, J., Zhang, A. L., Xu, W., Gomez-Hernandez, M., Wang, Y., & Olaguer, E.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Levy, Misti||Zhang, Renyi||Zheng, Jun||Zhang, Annie L||Xu, Wen||Gomez-Hernandez, Mario||Wang, Yuan||Olaguer, Eduardo

publication date

  • September 2014