Analytical chemistry in a liquid film/droplet
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The measurement of nitrogen dioxide at the parts-perbillion level is described. The experimental arrangement consists of two optical fibers placed on opposite sides of and in contact with a liquid film (14-57 μL in volume) supported on a U-shaped wire guide and two tubular conduits (one of which constitutes the means for the delivery of the liquid), light from a green (555 nm) light-emitting diode enters the liquid film, composed of Griess-Saltzman reagent. The transmitted light is measured by a referenced photodetection arrangement. Sample gas flows past the droplet at a low flow rate (typically 0.10-0.25 L/min). The response is proportional to the sampling period and the analyte concentration. The limit of detection for this nonoptimized arrangement is estimated to be <10 ppb by volume for a 5 min sample. Some unusual characteristics are observed. The initial absorbance, when most of the analyte/reaction product is still near the surface, is higher than that when the content of the droplet is fully mixed. The signal depends on the sample flow rate in a nonmonotonic fashion, first increasing and then decreasing with increasing sampling rate; the specific chemistry involved in the collection and determination of NO2 may be responsible.