Articles | Volume 4, issue 5
Research article
06 May 2011
Research article |  | 06 May 2011

Characterisation of a new Fast CPC and its application for atmospheric particle measurements

B. Wehner, H. Siebert, M. Hermann, F. Ditas, and A. Wiedensohler

Abstract. A new Fast CPC (FCPC) using butanol as working fluid has been built based on the setup described by Wang et al. (2002). In this study, we describe the new instrument. The functionality and stable operation of the FCPC in the laboratory, as well as under atmospheric conditions, is demonstrated. The counting efficiency was measured for three temperature differences between FCPC saturator and condenser, 25, 27, and 29 K, subsequently resulting in a lower detection limit between 6.1 and 8.5 nm. Above 25 nm the FCPC reached 98–100% counting efficiency compared to an electrometer used as the reference instrument. The FCPC demonstrated its ability to perform continuous measurements over a few hours in the laboratory with respect to the total particle counting. The instrument has been implemented into the airborne measurement platform ACTOS to perform measurements in the atmospheric boundary layer. Therefore, a stable operation over two hours is required. The mixing time of the new FCPC was estimated in two ways using a time series with highly fluctuating particle number concentrations. The analysis of a sharp ramp due to a concentration change results in a mixing time of 5 ms while a spectral analysis of atmospheric data demonstrates that for frequencies up to 10 Hz coherent structures can be resolved before sampling noise dominates.

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