Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe (FSSP)


Operated By: 

The FSSP is of that general class of instruments called optical particle counters (OPCs) that detect single particles and size them by measuring the intensity of light that the particle scatters when passing through a light beam. A Helium Neon laser beam is focused to a diameter of 0.2 mm at the center of an inlet that faces into the oncoming airstream. This laser beam is blocked on the opposite side of the inlet with an optical stop, a "dump spot" to prevent the beam from entering the collection optics. Particles that encounter this beam scatter light in all directions and some of that scattered in the forward direction is directed by a right angle prism though a condensing lens and onto a beam splitter. The "dump spot" on the prism and aperture of the condensing lens define a collection angle from about 4º - 12º.

The beam splitter divides the scattered light into two components, each of which impinge on a photodetector. One of these detectors, however, is optically masked to receive only scattered light when the particles pass through the laser beam displaced greater than approximately 1.5 mm either side of the center of focus. Particles that fall in that region are rejected when the signal from the masked detector exceeds that from the unmasked detector. This defines the sample volume needed to calculate particle concentrations.

Instrument Type: 
Citation, DC-8, ER-2, WB-57
Instrument Team: