First Advisor

Andrew Rice

Term of Graduation


Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Physics






Atmospheric methane, Cavity-ringdown spectroscopy, Climatic changes -- Effect of greenhouse gases on



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 59 p.) : ill. (some col.)


Trace gases can have a significant impact on the Earth's climate, and the analysis of changes in these gases and an understanding of how much of these changes are a result of human activity is important for understanding global climate change. Methane (CH4) is the second only to CO2 in radiative forcing over the last 200 years, and its concentration in the atmosphere has more than doubled since 1750. Sources and sinks of CH4 have characteristic isotopic effects, which shift the relative concentration of the methane isotopologues. Spectroscopic techniques for of analysis the isotopic composition of methane have been evolving since the early 1990's, and promise real-time, in-situ measurements that would provide unprecedented information on the methane atmospheric cycle. Here we present our development and results of a new optical spectroscopic isotope ratio instrument using cavity ringdown spectroscopy in the near IR region using the ν2+2ν3 overtone band. This region has limited interference from other molecules, and an advantageous juxtaposition of a 13CH4 triplet, and a single 12CH4 peak, allowing near-simultaneous measurement of both isotopologues. We present the results of two datasets showing high linearity over a wide range of isotope ratios, which achieved a precision of ±4 0/00. We present analysis of the data and consider the effects of temperature and molecular interference.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Physics

Persistent Identifier