We describe an instrument for measuring the particle extinction coefficient at ambient conditions in the spectral range from 270 to 1000 nm. It is based on a differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) system, which was originally used for measuring trace-gas concentrations of atmospheric absorbers in the ultraviolet–visible wavelength range. One obtains the particle extinction spectrum by measuring the total atmospheric extinction and subtracting trace-gas absorption and Rayleigh scattering. The instrument consists of two nested Newton-type telescopes, which are simultaneously used for emitting and detecting light, and two arrays of retroreflectors at the ends of the two light paths. The design of this new instrument solves crucial problems usually encountered in the design of such instruments. The telescope is actively repositioned during the measurement cycle. Particle extinction is simultaneously measured at several wavelengths by the use of two grating spectrometers. Optical turbulence causes lateral movement of the spot of light in the receiver telescope. Monitoring of the return signals with a diode permits correction for this effect. Phase-sensitive detection efficiently suppresses background signals from the atmosphere as well as from the instrument itself. The performance of the instrument was tested during a measurement period of 3 months from January to March 2000. The instrument ran without significant interruption during that period. A mean accuracy of 0.032 km−1 was found for the extinction coefficient for an 11-day period in March.
© 2005 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: March 15, 2004
Revised Manuscript: November 7, 2004
Manuscript Accepted: November 8, 2004
Published: March 20, 2005
Thomas Müller, Detlef Müller, and René Dubois, "Particle extinction measured at ambient conditions with differential optical absorption spectroscopy. 1. System setup and characterization," Appl. Opt. 44, 1657-1666 (2005)