FT-IR-cPAS — New Photoacoustic Measurement Technique for Analysis of Hot Gases: A Case Study on VOCs

Christian Bernd Hirschmann (Corresponding Author), Niina Susanna Koivikko, Jussi Raittila, Jussi Tenhunen, Satu Ojala, Katariina Rahkamaa-Tolonen, Ralf Marbach, Sarah Hirschmann, Riitta Liisa Keiski

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    This article describes a new photoacoustic FT-IR system capable of operating at elevated temperatures. The key hardware component is an optical-readout cantilever microphone that can work up to 200 °C. All parts in contact with the sample gas were put into a heated oven, incl. the photoacoustic cell. The sensitivity of the built photoacoustic system was tested by measuring 18 different VOCs. At 100 ppm gas concentration, the univariate signal to noise ratios (1σ, measurement time 25.5 min, at highest peak, optical resolution 8 cm−1) of the spectra varied from minimally 19 for o-xylene up to 329 for butyl acetate. The sensitivity can be improved by multivariate analyses over broad wavelength ranges, which effectively co-adds the univariate sensitivities achievable at individual wavelengths. The multivariate limit of detection (3σ, 8.5 min, full useful wavelength range), i.e., the best possible inverse analytical sensitivity achievable at optimum calibration, was calculated using the SBC method and varied from 2.60 ppm for dichloromethane to 0.33 ppm for butyl acetate. Depending on the shape of the spectra, which often only contain a few sharp peaks, the multivariate analysis improved the analytical sensitivity by 2.2 to 9.2 times compared to the univariate case. Selectivity and multi component ability were tested by a SBC calibration including 5 VOCs and water. The average cross selectivities turned out to be less than 2% and the resulting inverse analytical sensitivities of the 5 interfering VOCs was increased by maximum factor of 2.2 compared to the single component sensitivities. Water subtraction using SBC gave the true analyte concentration with a variation coefficient of 3%, although the sample spectra (methyl ethyl ketone, 200 ppm) contained water from 1,400 to 100k ppm and for subtraction only one water spectra (10k ppm) was used. The developed device shows significant improvement to the current state-of-the-art measurement methods used in industrial VOC measurements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5270-5289
    Number of pages20
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • volatile organic compound (VOC)
    • photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS)
    • science based calibration (SBC)
    • elevated temperature measurement


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