Articles | Volume 14, issue 24
Research article
19 Dec 2014
Research article |  | 19 Dec 2014

Overview of the Focused Isoprene eXperiment at the California Institute of Technology (FIXCIT): mechanistic chamber studies on the oxidation of biogenic compounds

T. B. Nguyen, J. D. Crounse, R. H. Schwantes, A. P. Teng, K. H. Bates, X. Zhang, J. M. St. Clair, W. H. Brune, G. S. Tyndall, F. N. Keutsch, J. H. Seinfeld, and P. O. Wennberg

Abstract. The Focused Isoprene eXperiment at the California Institute of Technology (FIXCIT) was a collaborative atmospheric chamber campaign that occurred during January 2014. FIXCIT is the laboratory component of a synergistic field and laboratory effort aimed toward (1) better understanding the chemical details behind ambient observations relevant to the southeastern United States, (2) advancing the knowledge of atmospheric oxidation mechanisms of important biogenic hydrocarbons, and (3) characterizing the behavior of field instrumentation using authentic standards. Approximately 20 principal scientists from 14 academic and government institutions performed parallel measurements at a forested site in Alabama and at the atmospheric chambers at Caltech. During the 4 week campaign period, a series of chamber experiments was conducted to investigate the dark- and photo-induced oxidation of isoprene, α-pinene, methacrolein, pinonaldehyde, acylperoxy nitrates, isoprene hydroxy nitrates (ISOPN), isoprene hydroxy hydroperoxides (ISOPOOH), and isoprene epoxydiols (IEPOX) in a highly controlled and atmospherically relevant manner. Pinonaldehyde and isomer-specific standards of ISOPN, ISOPOOH, and IEPOX were synthesized and contributed by campaign participants, which enabled explicit exploration into the oxidation mechanisms and instrument responses for these important atmospheric compounds. The present overview describes the goals, experimental design, instrumental techniques, and preliminary observations from the campaign. This work provides context for forthcoming publications affiliated with the FIXCIT campaign. Insights from FIXCIT are anticipated to aid significantly in interpretation of field data and the revision of mechanisms currently implemented in regional and global atmospheric models.

Final-revised paper