Atmospheric Physics in Wuppertal

AtmoSHINE-Mission started successfully!

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Atmospheric Research in Wuppertal: Currently running projects


For scientific missions on board the new German research aircraft HALO (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft) the air sampler MIRAH (Measurements of Stable Isotope Ratios in Atmospheric Trace Gases on HALO) shall be installed in the baggage compartment.

During the flight ambient air is collected in 24 SulfinertTM-coated containers. After the flight the air samples are analysed for the isotope ratio in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in our laboratory.

In October 2010 the maiden flight of MIRAH took place during the TECHNO mission. [more]


For the investigation of gravity waves in the atmosphere, a special Spatial Heterodyne interferometer was developed to measure the airglow at 762 nm between 60 km and 120 km. AtmoSHINE (Atmospheric Spatial Heterodyne Interferometer Next Exploration) is the first test mission on a Chinese technology satellite, which was successfully launched from the Jiuquan space station on 22 December 2018, 0:51 CET. [weiter]


The GRound-based Infrared P-Branch Spectrometer (GRIPS) located in Wuppertal is used by our research group to determine the temperature of the mesopause at an altitude of 87 km (+/- 2 km) in "every" night. GRIPS is a Czerny-Turner grating spectrometer that scans the near infrared between 1.52 - 1.55 micrometer with a spectral resolution of about 450. Measured parameters are the nighttime hydroxyl Meinel band (3,1) rotational temperatures from the [OH*] emission layer. Operating since 1980, more than 3500 nightly mean temperatures have been measured. [more]


The Development Initiative for Small Satellites Exploring Climate Processes by Tomography (DISSECT) was started by the University of Wuppertal and the Research Centre Juelich for the developement of small satellites for climate research to perform temperature measurements of the middle and upper atmosphere. Based on the 6U CubeSat form factor, the payload consists of a telescope with a spectrometer for the observation of airglow, namely O2 atmospheric band emissions at 764 nm. [more]


The CRyogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescope for the Atmosphere - New Frontiers (CRISTA-NF) instrument is designed to study trace gas distributions (H2O, O3, N2O, F11) in the Upper troposphere / Lower stratosphere (UTLS). The  instrument comprises of a Helium-cooled infrared telescope and two grating spectrometers based on the former space telescope CRISTACRISTA-NF is deployed on board the Russian high-flying research plane GEOPHYSICA.

From the beginning in 2005 the instrument has successfully been operated on over 30 flights. So far CRISTA-NF participated in the international campaigns SCOUT-O3 in Australia (Nov./Dec. 2005), AMMA in West Africa (Aug. 2006) and RECONCILE in Kiruna/Sweden (Jan.-Mar. 2010). [more]


The High Altitude Gas Analyzer is an aircraft-based fast gas chromatograph for simultaneous in-situ measurements of trace gases like N2O, SF6, CH4, H2 as well as several halogen compounds in combination with an infrared sensor for CO2 measurements in the stratosphere.

Hagar was deployed on board the high-altitude research aircraft Geophysica during many measurement campaigns. From January till March 2010 HAGAR participated in the international RECONCILE campaign in Kiruna/Sweden.


The atmospheric physics research group cooperates with the DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) to realize the PERflourocarbon TRAcer System (PERTRAS). This project aims for the following of air masses in Lagrangian experiments with the High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft  (HALO). First air masses will be marked with artificial tracers (perflourocarbons (PFC)). Afterwards these air masses can be “found again” by in-situ measuring atmospheric PFC concentrations.

A PFC release unit has already been constructed and successfully tested by the DLR. At the moment a multi-channel gas chromatograph for the measurement of PFC as well as natural tracers is being developed in our reasearch group.

Completed projects


The ZEBIS (Zeppelin Based Isotope Sampler) instrument aboard the Zeppelin NT airship was developed to collect ambient air in inert canisters. During a zeppelin flight the air samples are collected  at different times and at different locations and after the flight the air samples are analysed for the isotope ratio in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in our laboratory.

ZEBIS had its maiden flight within the COPS/TRACKS campaign on board Zeppelin NT in July 2007.  Zeppelin NT is a new platformed for in situ measurements within the planetary boundary layer. The air sampler ZEBIS was also successfully deployed during the ZEPTER-2 campaign in  October and November 2008. [more]

GLORIA BlackBody (GBB)

In order to calibrate the GLORIA infrared interferometer with high accuracy, well-defined radiance sources are needed. A calibration system consisting of two blackbodies at different temperatures has been designed and built and tested at our institute.

The high precision characterization of the blackbodies has successfully been performed at the national metrology institute of Germany  PTB in Berlin.


CRyogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (CRISTA) was a scientific instrument  developed by the University of Wuppertal for studies of small-scale structures in the atmospheric trace gas distributions, which performed very successfully during two Space Shuttle flights in November 1994 and August 1997. [more]


The new air sampler on HALO


a Spatial Heterodyne Interferometer (SHI) for measuring temperature in the upper atmosphere on a Chinese technology satellite


For more than 30 years temperature measurements at 87 km altitude


Tomographic measurements of the upper atmosphere with the help of nanosatellites


A fast gas chromatograph for simultaneous in-situ measurements of trace gases


A multi-channel gas chromatograph for the measurement of PFC on HALO

GLORIA BlackBody

Radiance source ready for flight


A Helium-cooled infrared telescope for measurements on board the high-flying research plane GEOPHYSICA

Zeppelin NT

An ideal platform to study trace gas distributions and free radicals in the lowermost layers of the atmosphere

CRISTA in Space

The satellite CRISTA-SPAS released from the Space Shuttle cargo bay