A High-Sensitivity Low-Cost Optical Particle Counter Design

Gao, R., A. Perring, T. Thornberry, A. Rollins, J. Schwarz, S. Ciciora, and D. Fahey (2013), A High-Sensitivity Low-Cost Optical Particle Counter Design, Aerosol Science and Technology, 47, 137-145, doi:10.1080/02786826.2012.733039.

We report the design of a small optical particle counter with high sensitivity and low construction cost for atmospheric aerosol measurements. Particle sensing is based on the detection of the forward scattering of laser light. The separation of the laser beam and scattered light is achieved with a novel yet simple optical system. A laboratory prototype system with a 405-nm laser and photomultiplier tube detector has successfully detected PSL particles as small as 125 nm in diameter with unit efficiency. Theoretical calculations suggest that a lower detectable size limit of 100 nm can be achieved with reduction of background scattered light. The new counter will be useful in a variety of ground-based as well as small balloon-borne applications such as vertical profiling and in situ measurement of particles from explosive volcanic eruptions.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.
Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)
Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)