, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 43-52

A Nanometer Aerosol Size Analyzer (nASA) for Rapid Measurement of High-concentration Size Distributions

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Abstract

We have developed a fast-response nanometer aerosol size analyzer (nASA) that is capable of scanning 30 size channels between 3 and 100 nm in a total time of 3 s. The analyzer includes a bipolar charger (Po210), an extended-length nanometer differential mobility analyzer (Nano-DMA), and an electrometer (TSI 3068). This combination of components provides particle size spectra at a scan rate of 0.1 s per channel free of uncertainties caused by response-time-induced smearing. The nASA thus offers a fast response for aerosol size distribution measurements in high-concentration conditions and also eliminates the need for applying a de-smearing algorithm to resulting data. In addition, because of its thermodynamically stable means of particle detection, the nASA is useful for applications requiring measurements over a broad range of sample pressures and temperatures. Indeed, experimental transfer functions determined for the extended-length Nano-DMA using the tandem differential mobility analyzer (TDMA) technique indicate the nASA provides good size resolution at pressures as low as 200 Torr. Also, as was demonstrated in tests to characterize the soot emissions from the J85-GE engine of a T-38 aircraft, the broad dynamic concentration range of the nASA makes it particularly suitable for studies of combustion or particle formation processes. Further details of the nASA performance as well as results from calibrations, laboratory tests and field applications are presented below.