Aerosol/Cloud Particle Impactor/Replicator

Aerosols of size 0.05 µm to 5 µm are collected with Ames wire impactors. This instrument consists of 25 µm, 75 µm and 500 µm diameter palladium or gold wires on ring mounts exposed to air for up to 5 minutes. Smaller diameter wires utilize their higher collection efficiency for small particles. Alternately, the wires can be replaced by Formvar-coated glass rods to collect cloud particles of sizes up to 500 µm. The collectors are brought back to the laboratory for analysis of size, shape and elemental/chemical composition of the collected particles using optical and electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry and microchemical reaction spots on substrates sensitized with specific chemicals.

Improved time and space resolution of ice particle collections is achieved by simultaneous sampling with the continuous Formvar replicator. The prime utility of this instrument is to obtain direct measurements of ice and liquid (volatile) particle concentration, size (1µm < D < 500µm) and shape over the period of approximately 2 hours per flight with a spatial resolution on the order of 20 m (at aircraft speed of 200 m/s). This opens the possibility of obtaining horizontal and vertical gradients of these quantities in cirrus clouds and contrails. Analysis of particles replicated on the films takes place by optical microscopy, interference microscopy and electron microscopy. The phases of supercooled or supersaturated solution droplets can be inferred from whether or not particles shatter or splash on impact to give sharp edged fragments or splash characteristics of high impact speed and high Langmuir numbers (high kinetic-to-surface surface energy ratios).

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CU Aircraft High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer

Principle: The CU aircraft version of the Aerodyne High-Resolution Time-of-Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) detects non-refractory submicron aerosol composition by impaction on a vaporizer at 600°C, followed by electron ionization and time-of-flight mass spectral analysis. Size-resolved composition can be quantified by measuring the arrival times of the aerosol at the vaporizer.

Aircraft Operation: (1 min cycles, can be adjusted to meet mission goals):
46 s total concentration measurements (1 s resolution, can be increased to up to 10 Hz upon request)
5 s speciated size distribution measurements (with improved S/N detection due to ePToF acquisition)
9 s Background + Overhead
Higher accuracy due to flight day calibrations using built-in system
Custom pressure controlled inlet with confirmed performance up to 41 kft

Real Time Data Products: 
PM1 Aerosol Mass Concentrations:
Organic aerosol (OA) , SO4, NO3, NH4, Chloride 
OA Chemical Markers: f44 (Secondary OA), f57 (hydrocarbon-like OA), f60 (biomass burning OA), f82 (isoprene epoxide-SOA), other fx upon request

More Advanced Products:
- PM1 Seasalt, ClO4, total I, total Br, MSA concentrations
- O/C, H/C, OA/OC, OSc
- Particle organic nitrates (pRONO2)
- Ammonium Balance, estimated pH
- OA components by positive matrix factorization (PMF)
- Particle eddy covariance fluxes of all species

Detection Limits (1s, ng sm-3), (1 min, ng sm-3) from start of the flight (due to custom cyropump):
Sulfate: 40, 15
Nitrate: 15, 6
Ammonium: 3, 1
Chloride: 30, 12
OA: 200, 80
For detailed OA analysis, longer averaging (3-30 s, depending on OA concentration) is needed. A 1 min product is hence provided as well.


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Soluble Acidic Gases and Aerosols

As part of the measurement team on the NASA DC-8 we operate two related installations: a mist chamber/ion chromatograph (MC/IC) sampling/analysis system providing near real time results for selected species, and a bulk aerosol system that collects particulates onto filters for subsequent analysis. We use ion chromatography on aqueous extracts of the bulk aerosol samples collected on Teflon filters to quantify soluble ions (Cl-, Br-, NO3-, SO42-, C2O42-, Na+, NH4+, K+, Ca+, and Mg+). Filters are exposed on all level flight legs. Below 3 km exposure times are 5 minutes or less, increasing at higher altitudes to a maximum sample time of 15 minutes. Aerosols participate in heterogeneous chemistry, impact radiative transfer, and can be detected from space. Our measurements help to validate and extend retrievals of aerosol distributions and properties by MODIS, MISR and CALIPSO. In addition, several of the particle-associated ions are tracers of sources of gas and aerosol pollutants (e.g., SO42- from industrial emissions of SO2, enhancements of C2O42-, K+, and NH4+ indicate encounters with biomass burning plumes, Na+, and Cl- are tracers of seasalt, Mg2+ and Ca2+ are tracers of dust). Our system has two inlets, allowing collection of paired samples simultaneously.

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Particle Into Liquid Sampler

The Particle Into Liquid Sampler (PILS) was developed for rapid automated on-line and continuous measurement of ambient aerosol bulk composition. The general approach is based on earlier devices in which ambient particles are mixed with saturated water vapor to produce droplets easily collected by inertial techniques. The resulting liquid stream is analyzed with an ion chromatograph to quantitatively measure the bulk aerosol ionic components. In this instrument, a modified version of a particle size magnifier is employed to activate and grow particles comprising the fine aerosol mass. A single jet inertial impactor is used to collect the droplets onto a vertical glass plate that is continually washed with a constant water diluent flow of nominally 0.10 ml min-1. The flow is divided and then analyzed by a dual channel ion chromatograph. In its current form, 4.3 min integrated samples were measured every 7 min. The instrument provides bulk composition measurements with a detection limit of approximately 0.1 µg m-3 for chloride, nitrate, sulfate, sodium, ammonium, calcium, and potassium.

Instrument Type: 
Na, NH4, K, Mg, Ca+2, Cl, NO2, NO3, SO4, PO4, Br-, WSOC
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Wing Tip Air Particulate Sampler

The APS is a passive sensor designed to gather high altitude dust particles for laboratory research. An APS paddle is deployed from a wingtip pod into stratosphere once the ER-2 has reached cruising altitude, and is retracted before descent. Both wire impactor and oil-film paddles are used. After approximately 40 hours of exposure, the sealed units are returned to the investigator for examination by an electron microscope. The returned particles can be the by-products of meteor decomposition in the upper atmosphere, or the products of massive volcanic eruptions.

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