Articles | Volume 9, issue 8
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 3577–3605, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-9-3577-2016
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 3577–3605, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-9-3577-2016

Research article 03 Aug 2016

Research article | 03 Aug 2016

How to reliably detect molecular clusters and nucleation mode particles with Neutral cluster and Air Ion Spectrometer (NAIS)

Hanna E. Manninen1, Sander Mirme2,3, Aadu Mirme2,3, Tuukka Petäjä1, and Markku Kulmala1 Hanna E. Manninen et al.
  • 1Department of Physical Sciences, P.O. Box 64, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Institute of Physics, Laboratory of Environmental Physics, University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu, Estonia
  • 3Airel, Ltd., Observatooriumi 5, 61602 Tõravere, Estonia

Abstract. To understand the very first steps of atmospheric particle formation and growth processes, information on the size where the atmospheric nucleation and cluster activation occurs, is crucially needed. The current understanding of the concentrations and dynamics of charged and neutral clusters and particles is based on theoretical predictions and experimental observations. This paper gives a standard operation procedure (SOP) for Neutral cluster and Air Ion Spectrometer (NAIS) measurements and data processing. With the NAIS data, we have improved the scientific understanding by (1) direct detection of freshly formed atmospheric clusters and particles, (2) linking experimental observations and theoretical framework to understand the formation and growth mechanisms of aerosol particles, and (3) parameterizing formation and growth mechanisms for atmospheric models. The SOP provides tools to harmonize the world-wide measurements of small clusters and nucleation mode particles and to verify consistent results measured by the NAIS users. The work is based on discussions and interactions between the NAIS users and the NAIS manufacturer.

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Short summary
This paper reports a standard operation procedure (SOP) for a Neutral cluster and Air Ion Spectrometer (NAIS) to detect small clusters and nucleation mode particles. The NAIS measures number size distributions of charged and neutral aerosol particles. The SOP is needed to provide comparable results measured by NAIS users around the world. The work is based on discussions between the NAIS users (lead by University of Helsinki, Finland) and the NAIS manufacturer (Airel Ltd., Estonia).