National Physical Laboratory

Nick Allen


Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a Higher Research Scientist within the Gas Metrology and Particle Group specialising in the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Currently his research is focused on the development of new methods and standards for the accurate measurement of VOCs in the atmosphere. There is growing scientific interest in the role VOCs play in the atmosphere due to the effect their emissions have on air quality. VOCs include a diverse range of species which have both anthropogenic and biogenic sources.

The analysis of VOCs in indoor air, frequently more polluted than outdoor air, using Thermal Desorption Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (TD-GC-MS), is a new topic of interest to Nick. Nick is a member of the EH/2/5 committee (Emissions to internal environments).

Nick's other research interests include the detection of halogenated trace gases and the development of remote sensing techniques.


Nick obtained his MChem degree from the University of Warwick in 2007, followed by a PhD in atmospheric chemistry at the University of York which he completed in 2011. His research included the retrieval and quantification of novel VOC and halogenated trace gas species measured by the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) satellite using Fourier transform spectroscopy.

His work to obtain the first atmospheric global distribution of carbon tetrachloride was included in the latest United Nations WMO report.

Selected publications

  • International comparison of key volatile organic components in indoor air
    Allen, N. D. C., Brewer, P. J., Brown, R. J. C., Lipscombe, R. P., Woods, P. T.
    Measurement, DOI: 10.1016/j.measurement.2016.01.027 (2016)
  • Acetonitrile (CH3CN) infrared absorption cross sections in the 3 micron region
    Allen, N. D. C., Harrison, J. J., Bernath, P. F.
    Journal of Quantiative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
    , 112 (12), pp 1961-1966
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jqsrt.2011.04.001 (2011)
  • Global carbon tetrachloride distributions obtained from the Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE)
    Allen, N. D. C., Bernath, P.F., Boone, C. D., Chipperfield, M. P.; Fu, D., Manney, G. L., Oram, D. E., Toon, G. C., Weisenstein, D. K.
    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 9 (19), pp 7449-7459 (2009)

Contact details

Tel: 020 8943 6913

Last Updated: 28 Jan 2016
Created: 2 Oct 2012


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