Condensation Nuclei Counter (CNC)


Operated By: 

The CNC counts particles in the approximate diameter range from 0.006 m to 2 m. The instrument operates by exposing the articles to saturated Flourinert vapor at 28 C and then cooling the sample in a condenser at 5 C. The supersaturation of the vapor increases as it is cooled and the vapor condenses on the particles causing them to grow to sizes which are easily detected. The resulting droplets are passed through a laser beam and the scattered light is detected. Individual particles are counted and are referred to as condensation nuclei (CN). Two CN Counters are provided in the instrument. One counts the particles after sampling from the atmosphere and the second counts particles that have survived heating to 192C. Lab experiments show that pure sulfuric acid particles smaller than 0.05 mm are volatilized in the heater. The heated channel detects when small particles are volatile and permits speculation about the composition. The CNC II contains an impactor collector which permits the collection of particles on electron microscope grids for later analysis. The collector consists of a two stages. In the first stage the pressure of the sample is reduced by a factor of two without loosing particles by impaction on walls. The second stage consists of a thin plate impactor which collect efficiently even at small Reynolds numbers. The system collects particles as small as 0.02 m at WB-57 cruise altitudes. As many as 25 samples can be collected in a flight.

Instrument Type: 
Point(s) of Contact: 
James Wilson (POC; PI)