ATTREX: Allow me to introduce: mini-DOAS!

Today, I would like to introduce you to my instrument: mini-DOAS!

You must know that scientists love to use acronyms to name instrumentsor even experiments (such as the ATTREX mission), so let me spell out for you whatmini-DOAS stands for: mini- Differential Optical Absorption Spectrometer. Ittakes its name from the well established spectroscopic technique (differential opticalabsorption spectroscopy) used to identify and measure amounts of differentgases. So what is mini-DOAS? Mini-DOAS is a remote sensing instrument whichuses scattered sunlight in the ultraviolet (UV), visible (VIS), andnear-infrared (NIR) spectral range to measure the concentration of atmospherictrace gases such as bromine monoxide (BrO),  ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide  (NO2), oxygen dimer (O4), and water vapor. Thesetrace gases are very important because they contribute to the formation anddestruction of ozone in the atmosphere of our planet.

In the picture you cansee the mini-DOAS instrument integrated in the payload area of the NASA GlobalHawk. Briefly, the main components of our instrument are: a vacuum sealed box containingthe spectrometers and the optical fiber bundles connecting them to the telescopesmounted on the outside of the aircraft’s fuselage. It’s important to know thatthe telescopes have the ability to rotate so that they can point towardsdifferent viewing angles and therefore collect more information.

As you can see, theinstrument is now ready to fly and, indeed, we have already begun the countdownto tomorrow’s science flight!