Efficacy of a portable, moderate-resolution, fast-scanning differential mobility analyzer for ambient aerosol size distribution measurements

Amanatidis​​​​​​​, Stavros; Huang, Yuanlong; Pushpawela, Buddhi; Schulze, Benjamin C.; Kenseth, Christopher M.; Ward, Ryan X.; Seinfeld, John H.; Hering, Susanne V.; Flagan, Richard C.

Ambient aerosol size distributions obtained with a compact scanning mobility analyzer, the “Spider” differential mobility analyzer (DMA), are compared to those obtained with a conventional mobility analyzer, with specific attention to the effect of mobility resolution on the measured size distribution parameters. The Spider is a 12 cm diameter radial differential mobility analyzer that spans the 10–500 nm size range with 30 s mobility scans. It achieves its compact size by operating at a nominal mobility resolution inline-formulaR=3 (sheath flow inline-formula= 0.9 L mininline-formula−1; aerosol flow inline-formula= 0.3 L mininline-formula−1) in place of the higher ratio of sheath flow to aerosol flow commonly used. The question addressed here is whether the lower resolution is sufficient to capture key characteristics of ambient aerosol size distributions. The Spider, operated at inline-formulaR=3 with 30 s up- and downscans, was co-located with a TSI 3081 long-column mobility analyzer, operated at inline-formulaR=10 with a 360 s sampling duty cycle. Ambient aerosol data were collected over 26 consecutive days of continuous operation, in Pasadena, CA. Over the 17–500 nm size range, the two instruments exhibit excellent correlation in the total particle number concentrations and geometric mean diameters, with regression slopes of 1.13 and 1.00, respectively. Our results suggest that particle sizing at a lower resolution than typically employed may be sufficient to obtain key properties of ambient size distributions, at least for these two moments of the size distribution. Moreover, it enables better counting statistics, as the wider transfer function for a given aerosol flow rate results in a higher counting rate.

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Amanatidis​​​​​​​, Stavros / Huang, Yuanlong / Pushpawela, Buddhi / et al: Efficacy of a portable, moderate-resolution, fast-scanning differential mobility analyzer for ambient aerosol size distribution measurements. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Stavros Amanatidis​​​​​​​ et al.

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