Articles | Volume 3, issue 5
12 Oct 2010
 | 12 Oct 2010

Fast time-resolved aerosol collector: proof of concept

X.-Y. Yu, J. P. Cowin, M. J. Iedema, and H. Ali

Abstract. Atmospheric particles can be collected in the field on substrates for subsequent laboratory analysis via chemically sensitive single particle methods such as scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray analysis. With moving substrates time resolution of seconds to minutes can be achieved. In this paper, we demonstrate how to increase the time resolution when collecting particles on a substrate to a few milliseconds to provide real-time information. Our fast time-resolved aerosol collector ("Fast-TRAC") microscopically observes the particle collection on a substrate and records an on-line video. Particle arrivals are resolved to within a single frame (4–17 ms in this setup), and the spatial locations are matched to the subsequent single particle analysis. This approach also provides in-situ information on particle size and number concentration. Applications are expected in airborne studies of cloud microstructure, pollution plumes, and surface long-term monitoring.