Articles | Volume 2, issue 1
16 Jun 2009
 | 16 Jun 2009

Experimental characterization of the COndensation PArticle counting System for high altitude aircraft-borne application

R. Weigel, M. Hermann, J. Curtius, C. Voigt, S. Walter, T. Böttger, B. Lepukhov, G. Belyaev, and S. Borrmann

Abstract. A characterization of the ultra-fine aerosol particle counter COPAS (COndensation PArticle counting System) for operation on board the Russian high altitude research aircraft M-55 Geophysika is presented. The COPAS instrument consists of an aerosol inlet and two dual-channel continuous flow Condensation Particle Counters (CPCs) operated with the chlorofluorocarbon FC-43. It operates at pressures between 400 and 50 hPa for aerosol detection in the particle diameter (dp) range from 6 nm up to 1 μm. The aerosol inlet, designed for the M-55, is characterized with respect to aspiration, transmission, and transport losses. The experimental characterization of counting efficiencies of three CPCs yields dp50 (50% detection particle diameter) of 6 nm, 11 nm, and 15 nm at temperature differences (ΔT) between saturator and condenser of 17°C, 30°C, and 33°C, respectively. Non-volatile particles are quantified with a fourth CPC, with dp50=11 nm. It includes an aerosol heating line (250°C) to evaporate H2SO4-H2O particles of 11 nm<dp<200 nm at pressures between 70 and 300 hPa. An instrumental in-flight inter-comparison of the different COPAS CPCs yields correlation coefficients of 0.996 and 0.985. The particle emission index for the M-55 in the range of 1.4–8.4×1016 kg−1 fuel burned has been estimated based on measurements of the Geophysika's own exhaust.