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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-242
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-242
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  03 Jul 2020

03 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

A single-beam photothermal interferometer for in-situ measurements of aerosol light absorption

Bradley Visser1, Jannis Röhrbein1, Peter Steigmeier1, Luka Drinovec2,3, Griša Močnik2,3,4, and Ernest Weingartner1 Bradley Visser et al.
  • 1University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, Windisch, Switzerland
  • 2Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 3Haze Instruments d.o.o., Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 4University of Nova Gorica, Ajdovščina, Slovenia

Abstract. We have developed a novel single-beam photothermal interferometer and present here its application for the measurement of aerosol light absorption. The use of only a single laser beam allows for a compact optical set up and significantly easier alignment compared to standard dual-beam photothermal interferometers, making it ideal for field measurements. Due to a unique configuration of the reference interferometer arm, light absorption by aerosols can be determined directly even in the presence of light absorbing gases. The instrument can be calibrated directly with light absorbing gases, such as NO2, and can be used to calibrate other light absorption instruments. The detection limits (1σ) for absorption for ten and sixty second averaging times were determined to be 14.6 Mm−1 and 7.4 Mm−1, respectively, which for a mass absorption cross-section of 10 m2 g−1 leads to equivalent black carbon concentration detection limits of 1460 ng m−3 and 740 ng m−3, respectively. The detection limit could be reduced further by improvements to the isolation of the instrument and the signal detection and processing schemes employed.

Bradley Visser et al.

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Short summary
Here we report on the development of a novel single-beam photothermal interferometer and its use in the measurement of aerosol light absorption. We demonstrate how light absorbing gases can be used to calibrate the instrument and how this absorption is automatically subtracted during normal operation. The performance of the instrument is compared to a standard filter-based instrument using a black carbon test aerosol. The 60 s detection limit is found to be less than 10 Mm−1.
Here we report on the development of a novel single-beam photothermal interferometer and its use...
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