Spectral Intensity Bioaerosol Sensor (SIBS): an instrument for spectrally resolved fluorescence detection of single particles in real time

Könemann, Tobias; Savage, Nicole; Klimach, Thomas; Walter, David; Fröhlich-Nowoisky, Janine; Su, Hang; Pöschl, Ulrich; Huffman, J. Alex; Pöhlker, Christopher

Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAPs) in the atmosphere are highly relevant for the Earth system, climate, and public health. The analysis of PBAPs, however, remains challenging due to their high diversity and large spatiotemporal variability. For real-time PBAP analysis, light-induced fluorescence (LIF) instruments have been developed and widely used in laboratory and ambient studies. The interpretation of fluorescence data from these instruments, however, is often limited by a lack of spectroscopic information. This study introduces an instrument – the Spectral Intensity Bioaerosol Sensor (SIBS; Droplet Measurement Technologies (DMT), Longmont, CO, USA) – that resolves fluorescence spectra for single particles and thus promises to expand the scope of fluorescent PBAP quantification and classification.

The SIBS shares key design components with the latest versions of the Wideband Integrated Bioaerosol Sensor (WIBS) and the findings presented here are also relevant for the widely deployed WIBS-4A and WIBS-NEO as well as other LIF instruments. The key features of the SIBS and the findings of this study can be summarized as follows.

  • d1e178Particle sizing yields reproducible linear responses for particles in the range of 300 nm to 20 inline-formulaµm. The lower sizing limit is significantly smaller than for earlier commercial LIF instruments (e.g., WIBS-4A and the Ultraviolet Aerodynamic Particle Sizer; UV-APS), expanding the analytical scope into the accumulation-mode size range.

  • d1e190Fluorescence spectra are recorded for two excitation wavelengths (inline-formulaλex=285 and 370 nm) and a wide range of emission wavelengths (inline-formulaλmean=302–721 nm) with a resolution of 16 detection channels, which is higher than for most other commercially available LIF bioaerosol sensors.

  • d1e224Fluorescence spectra obtained for 16 reference compounds confirm that the SIBS provides sufficient spectral resolution to distinguish major modes of molecular fluorescence. For example, the SIBS resolves the spectral difference between bacteriochlorophyll and chlorophyll inline-formulaa and inline-formulab.

  • d1e242A spectral correction of the instrument-specific detector response is essential to use the full fluorescence emission range.

  • d1e246Asymmetry factor (AF) data were assessed and were found to provide only limited analytical information.

  • d1e250In test measurements with ambient air, the SIBS worked reliably and yielded characteristically different spectra for single particles in the coarse mode with an overall fluorescent particle fraction of inline-formula∼4 % (inline-formula3σ threshold), which is consistent with earlier studies in comparable environments.



Könemann, Tobias / Savage, Nicole / Klimach, Thomas / et al: Spectral Intensity Bioaerosol Sensor (SIBS): an instrument for spectrally resolved fluorescence detection of single particles in real time. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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