Monday, January 16, 2006

The Photolysis Experiment

The photolysis experiment that I talked about the other day is used to measure photolysis of DMS while determining what bandwidth of solar radiation is causing the breakdown of DMS. What I mean by bandwidth is what range of sunlight is responsible for this. I built a black PVC box with separate cells within it that hold samples in continuously flowing fresh seawater under a cutoff filter. The cutoff filter only allows wavelengths of light above its cutoff through. We have cutoff filters at 290, 300, 320, 340, 360, 380, 400nm. From this array of filters we can determine which portion of the solar spectrum is causing photolysis. We are able to determine the strongest degradation by reaction tracing with 35S isotope. DMS labeled with a 35S isotope is added to the samples to determine what percentage of the sample is photolyzed.

I have not finished the analysis but when I am done I will give an idea on what we are observing here.

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