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FORTH Atmospheric Simulation Chamber (FORTH-ASC)
General information
Access mode Physical access
Infrastructure name and acronym FORTH Atmospheric Simulation Chamber (FORTH-ASC)
Location 38.297504 N; 21.808678 E
Patras, Greece
Website Laqs.iceht.forth.gr
Legal name of organisation operating the infrastructure Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (FORTH/ICEHT)
Description of the infrastructure
Brief general description of the infrastructure to which access is offered

Indoor chamber: 103 Teflon reactor in 30m3 temperature controlled UV-equipped room. plus two 2m3 Teflon reactors inside UV-equipped enclosure.
Outdoor mobile chamber system: Two 2m3 Teflon reactors inside UV-equipped enclosure. The system can be used either outdoors in Patras or can be moved with the help of the FORTH mobile laboratory to the desired location.
Instrumentation includes: HR-AMS, PTR-MS, SMPS, ultrafine-SMPS, APS, thermodenuder, SO2, NOx, CO, CO2, O3, NH3 monitors, MAAP, TEOM, nephelometer, Dry-Ambient Aerosol Size Spectrometer (DAASS).
Unique features: source characterization (wood burning, open burning, gasoline and diesel engines, scooters, food cooking, etc.)
The chamber can operate with natural sunlight, artificial UV, or in the dark. Instrumentation can be housed inside the FORTH mobile laboratory.
Unique abilities to perform ambient air perturbation experiments (starting with ambient air) changing the conditions in the first chamber and keeping the second as baseline. Can be moved to field sites.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure and its research environment

- Testing/intercomparisons of new instruments.
- Studies of specific organic aerosol systems.
- Atmospheric “perturbation” experiments.
- Characterization of sources.
- Chemical aging experiments for primary and secondary organic aerosol.
- Ambient nucleation experiments.

Modalities of access and support offered under EUROCHAMP-2020
Typical duration of work

Between 2 and 4 weeks. A typical campaign includes 2-3 days of preparing the chamber for the experiments (e.g. connection of external instruments, testing), then 10-15 days of experiments (one experiment per day) and finally 2-3 days of data sharing and preliminary analysis and planning of the rest of the analysis and synthesis.

Community/user type served

The FORTH chamber has been used until now mainly by the academic sector. However, it is available for both the private sector and government.

Scientific and technical support offered The FORTH team (depending on user needs) can either perform or train the user to perform all activities. In the one unit of access we include the:
- Preparation of chamber (cleaning, testing, characterization)
- Experiment (design is quite flexible, all instruments of LAQS are available)
- Correction of raw data [HR-AMS corrections for collection efficiency, wall loss corrections for particles, quality assurance/quality control of data]
Logistic and administrative support offered Assistance with transport and installation of additional instrumentation to the site is offered. Troubleshooting and repairs can be provided. The institute offers assistance by providing local accommodations.
Person in charge of access provision at the infrastructure Dr. Spyros Pandis, spyros[at]chemeng.upatras.gr
Extended technical information
Physical description

The main FORTH-ASC chamber is a 10 m3 Teflon reactor inside a 30 m3 temperature-controlled UV-equipped room. The dimensions of the reactor are approximately 2.2 x 2.2 x 2 m. The reactor operates at a little above atmospheric pressure.


S/V ratio: 2.7 m-1
Irradiation JNO2: 0.59 hr-1 (all lights on) or 0.4 hr-1 (2/3 of the lights on) or 0.2 hr-1 (1/3 of the lights on)
Temperature range: 15-40° C
RH range: <5% - 90%
Projected surface area: 4-5 m2
Mechanical description Teflon reactor suspended inside a 30 m3 room with polished aluminum covered walls. The vertical walls are covered with black lights

Irradiation spectra FORTH
Size dependent aerosol loss/lifetime

10-20 hr for 0.1-2 μm particles (defined as in 1/k, where k is the particle wall loss rate constant to the walls)

Auxiliary mechanism FORTHASC
Description paper

Information about the chamber can be found in the following publications:


- Kostenidou E., C. Kaltsonoudis, M. Tsiflikiotou, E. Louvaris, L. M. Russell, and S. N. Pandis (2013) Burning of olive trees : a major organic aerosol source in the Mediterranean, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 8797-8811.


- Kaltsonoudis, C., E. Kostenidou, E. Louvaris, M. Psichoudaki, E. Tsiligiannis, K. Florou, A. Liangou, and S. N. Pandis (2017) Characterization of fresh and aged organic aerosol emissions from meat charbroiling, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 7143-7155.


- Louvaris, E. E., E. Karnezi, E. Kostenidou, C. Kaltsonoudis, and S. N. Pandis (2017) Estimation of the volatility distribution of organic aerosol combining thermodenuder and isothermal dilution measurements, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 3909-3918.

Laboratory in ICE

The main laboratory of LAQS is located at the Institute of Chemical Engineering (ICE/FORTH) around 1 km away from the University of Patras. The main scientific objectives of the laboratory are to study the physical and chemical properties of atmospheric particles and gases, related to atmospheric pollution. The laboratory is equipped with a variety of instrumentation appropriate for the measurement of chemical composition, the mass concentration, size, volatility, water solubility, hygroscopicity of atmospheric particles and the monitoring of certain gases. A series of controlled (in a smog chamber) and uncontrolled (ambient) experiments and measurements are conducted in order to investigate the corresponding atmospheric processes. Current studies are focusing on:

  • The investigation of emissions from wood burning and their atmospheric processing
  • The properties of biogenic and anthropogenic pollutants and their oxidation products
  • Oxidation mechanisms of gaseous species and secondary organic aerosol formation and aging
  • Evaluation of photochemical mechanisms
  • Exploration of chemical composition, gas/particle partitioning, hygroscopicity and volatility of SOA
  • Formation and growth of nanoparticles

Volatility Measurements with Thermodenuder

The Thermodenuder is an instrument used for the measurement of the volatility of atmospheric aerosol coupled with a High-Resolution Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR AMS) and/or a Scanning Mobility Mass Spectrometer (SMPS). Details about the design and the performance of our Thermodenuder can be found in An et al. (2007).

(An W. J., R. K. Pathak, B. H. Lee, and S. N. Pandis (2007): Aerosol volatility measurement using an improved thermodenuder: Application to secondary organic aerosol, J. Aeros. Sci., 38, 305-314)

Temperature-controlled laminar flow reactor

The reactor is a 4 m long tube consisting of 2 concentric cylinders. Water with the desired temperature circulates in the cylindrical annulus. The aerosol used in the experiment flows along the inner cylinder. There are five sampling ports along the reactor. The reactor is used for aerosol growth and evaporation experiments.

Laboratory in University of Patras

This laboratory is located in the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Patras. It is used for analysis of filter samples collected throughout the various sampling sites. GC-MS analysis for the characterization of the organic compounds of the aerosols and Thermal Optical Analysis for the characterization of the Organic (OC) and Elemental Carbon (EC) are performed there.

Mobile laboratory

LAQS has developed and commissioned a Mobile Laboratory (Mercedes-Benz Sprinter light duty van) for air quality monitoring and field experiments using mobile smog chambers. The laboratory has a flexible design allowing the use of different instrumentation depending on the measurement objectives.

The LAQS Mobile Lab is equipped with a number of monitors for gas-phase (CO, NO, NO2, O3, SO2, Volatile Organic Compounds using a PTR-MS) and particle-phase (size distribution, mass/composition distribution using an Aerosol Mass Spectrometer, black carbon) pollutants and their properties (scattering, absorption, volatility).

It can be used as fixed monitoring station, a mobile measurement platform or as an actual mobile laboratory allowing performance of smog chamber experiments in the field using ambient air.


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