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Journal Article

A novel rocket-borne ion mass spectrometer with large mass range: instrument description and first-flight results


Arnold,  Frank
Frank Arnold - Atmospheric Trace Gases and Ions, Research Groups, MPI for Nuclear Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Stude, J., Aufmhoff, H., Schlager, H., Rapp, M., Arnold, F., & Strelnikov, B. (2021). A novel rocket-borne ion mass spectrometer with large mass range: instrument description and first-flight results. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 14(2), 983-993. doi:10.5194/amt-14-983-2021.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-3CDA-E
We present a novel rocket-borne ion mass spectrometer named ROMARA
(ROcket-borne MAss spectrometer for Research in the Atmosphere) for
measuring atmospheric positive and negative ions (atomic, molecular and
cluster ions) and positively and negatively charged meteor smoke
particles. Our ROMARA instrument has, compared to previous rocket-borne
ion mass spectrometers, a markedly larger mass range of up to m/z 2000
and a larger sensitivity, particularly for meteor smoke particle
detection. The major objectives of this first ROMARA flight included the
following: a functional test of the ROMARA instrument, measurements
between 55 and 121 km in the mass range of atmospheric positive and
negative ions, a first attempt to conduct mass spectrometric
measurements in the mass range of meteor smoke particles with
mass-to-charge ratios up to m/z 2000, and measurements inside a polar
mesospheric winter echo layer as detected by ground-based radar. Our
ROMARA measurements took place on the Arctic island of Andoya, Norway,
at around noon in April 2018 and represented an integral part of the
polar mesospheric winter radar echo (PMWE) rocket campaign. During the
rocket flight, ROMARA was operated in a measurement mode, offering
maximum sensitivity and the ability to qualitatively detect total ion
signatures even beyond its mass-resolving mass range. On this first
ROMARA flight we were able to meet all of our objectives. We detected
atmospheric species including positive atomic, molecular and cluster
ions along with negative molecular ions up to about m/z 100. Above m/z
2000, ROMARA measured strong negative-ion signatures, which are likely
due to negatively charged meteor smoke particles.