Characterization of three new condensation particle counters for sub-3 nm particle detection during the Helsinki CPC workshop: the ADI versatile water CPC, TSI 3777 nano enhancer and boosted TSI 3010
Abstract. In this study we characterized the performance of three new particle counters able to detect particles smaller than 3 nm during the Helsinki condensation particle counter (CPC) workshop in summer 2016: the Aerosol Dynamics Inc. (ADI; Berkeley, USA) versatile water condensation particle counter (vWCPC), TSI 3777 nano enhancer (TSI Inc., Shoreview, USA) and modified and boosted TSI 3010-type CPC from Université Blaise Pascal called a B3010. The performance of all CPCs was first measured with charged tungsten oxide test particles at temperature settings which resulted in supersaturation low enough to not detect any ions produced by a radioactive source. Due to similar measured detection efficiencies, additional comparison between the 3777 and vWCPC were conducted using electrically neutral tungsten oxide test particles and with positively charged tetradodecylammonium bromide. Furthermore, the detection efficiencies of the 3777 and vWCPC were measured with boosted temperature settings yielding supersaturation which was at the onset of homogeneous nucleation for the 3777 or confined within the range of liquid water for the ADI vWCPC. Finally, CPC-specific tests were conducted to probe the response of the 3777 to various inlet flow relative humidities, of the B3010 to various inlet flow rates and of the vWCPC to various particle concentrations. For the 3777 and vWCPC the measured 50 % detection diameters (d50s) were in the range of 1.3–2.4 nm for the tungsten oxide particles, depending on the particle charging state and CPC temperature settings, between 2.5 and 3.3 nm for the organic test aerosol, and in the range of 3.2–3.4 nm for tungsten oxide for the B3010.