January 28, 2007

The Photochemical Reactor

I have been working on designing and building this photochemical reactor for over a year now. It is finally starting to come together. The idea is to study the chemistry occuring in the troposphere and stratosphere, for example how greenhouse gases break down, how pollution breaks down and how aerosol particles form. Ultraviolet lamps around the outside of the cell (UV-A, UV-C and sun lamps) will break apart molecules generating radicals which will react with different compounds we introduce into the cell. I aligned the multipass mirrors for the first time last Friday and was able to create a path length of 208 m in the 2 m cell, above spec, very good. The temperature control works well (-35 C to +50 C), as do the gas-handling and vacuum systems. The next step is to attach the spectrometer.


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