Performance of a high flow rate, thermally extractable multicapillary dénuder for atmospheric semivolatile organic compound concentration measurement

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A high flow rate (300 L min-1) multicapillary denuder was designed to collect trace atmospheric semivolatile organic compounds (SOCs). The denuder is coated with a reusable, polydimethylsiloxane stationary phase as a nonselective absorbent for SOCs. A solvent-free thermal desorption method was developed, including sample cleanup, that is selective for nonpolar SOCs, and has low consumables cost per sample. The entire sample is transferred into the gas Chromatograph to minimize the sampling time required to collect detectable analyte mass. Trace concentrations (0.1-100 pg m-3) of polychlorinated biphenyls and hexachlorobenzene were measured in the atmosphere near Lake Superior in sample times of 3.2-6.2 h. Overall method precision was determined using field duplicates and compared to the conventional high-volume sampler method. Method precision (coefficient of variation) of 16% was found for the high-flow denuder compared to 21% for the high-volume method. The relative difference between the two methods was 25%, with the high-flow denuder method giving generally lower concentrations. The high-flow denuder is an alternative to high-volume or passive samplers when it is desirable to separate gaseousfrom particle-associated SOCs upstream of a filter. The method is advantageous for studies that require high temporal resolution. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

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Environmental Science and Technology