DETERMINATION OF NITROGEN AND OXYGEN ATOMS IN THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE.
Final rept. for May-Nov 64,
ATOMICS INTERNATIONAL CANOGA PARK CALIF
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Freeze dried polystyrene aerogels or fluffs, when reacted with gaseous atoms, yield stable, free radical products at concentration levels dependent upon the concentration of the reacting atoms. These reactions, as applied to oxygen and nitrogen atoms, were investigated to determine the feasibility of their use as a means of atom sampling in the upper atmosphere. Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy was used for qualitative and quantitative product analysis. The results of the preliminary investigation revealed that about 1 of the atoms passing through the fluff were captured. Measurements of lifetimes showed that about 1000 minutes were required for decay to half a starting product concentration. Such reaction efficiencies and product lifetimes are sufficient for upper atmosphere sampling and remote measurement. Oxygen atoms are in excess over nitrogen by one to three orders of magnitude. The reaction rates of both atom species with fluff are similar resulting in negligibly small interference from N atoms during oxygen atom measurements. Author