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Single Particle Extinction and Scattering allows novel optical characterization of aerosols

Abstract

We apply to aerosols the optical method of Single Particle Extinction and Scattering recently proposed for characterizing liquid suspensions and specifically adapted to the aim. It provides simultaneous measurements of the real and imaginary parts of the field scattered in the forward direction by single airborne particles passing through a tightly focused laser beam. The intensity of transmitted light is collected in the forward direction, thus realizing a self-reference interferometric scheme relying on the fundamentals of the optical theorem. A high frequency (20 MS/s), extended dynamics (12 bits) sampling is performed by a cheap segmented photodiode, and a specific pulse shape analysis is exploited to validate the signals against a precise mathematical model. We show that accessing two independent physical quantities allows to exploit physical models to recover the aerosol size distribution from the measurement of the refractive index, either real or even complex. Laboratory measurements have been performed with polydisperse aerosols made of water droplets and NaCl in the submicron range, and the system has been accurately characterized. Examples of measurements of graphite nanoparticles and Pyrethrum smoke are shown. Limitations are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge Marzio Giglio for useful discussions, F. Cavaliere and D. Viganò of the Mechanical Workshop of the Physics Department for supporting the realization of the SPES instrumentation.

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Correspondence to Marco A. C. Potenza.

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Mariani, F., Bernardoni, V., Riccobono, F. et al. Single Particle Extinction and Scattering allows novel optical characterization of aerosols. J Nanopart Res 19, 291 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11051-017-3995-3

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Keywords

  • Aerosol optical properties
  • Light scattering
  • Absorption
  • Extinction
  • Refractive index
  • Nano- and microparticles