Optical properties of meteoric smoke analogues
Accurate determination of the optical properties of analogues for meteoric smoke particles (MSPs), which are thought to be composed of iron-rich oxides or silicates, is important for their observation and characterization in the atmosphere. In this study, a photochemical aerosol flow system (PAFS) has been used to measure the optical extinction of iron oxide MSP analogues in the wavelength range 325–675 nm. The particles were made photochemically and agglomerate into fractal-like particles with sizes on the order of 100 nm. Analysis using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) suggested the particles were most likely maghemite-like (γ-Fe2O3) in composition, though a magnetite-like composition could not be completely ruled out. Assuming a maghemite-like composition, the optical extinction coefficients measured using the PAFS were combined with maghemite absorption coefficients measured using a complementary experimental system (the MICE-TRAPS) to derive complex refractive indices that reproduce both the measured absorption and extinction.