Quantification of online removal of refractory black carbon using laser-induced...

Aiken, A. C., G. R. McMeeking, E. Levin, M. K. Dubey, P. J. DeMott, and S. M. Kreidenweis (2016), Quantification of online removal of refractory black carbon using laser-induced incandescence in the single particle soot photometer, Aerosol Sci. Tech., 50, 679-692, doi:10.1080/02786826.2016.1173647.

Refractory black carbon (rBC) is an aerosol that has important impacts on climate and human health. rBC is often mixed with other species, making it difficult to isolate and quantify its important effects on physical and optical properties of ambient aerosol. To solve this measurement challenge, a new method to remove rBC was developed using laser-induced incandescence (LII) by Levin et al. in 2014. Application of the method with the Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2) is used to determine the effects of rBC on ice nucleating particles (INP). Here, we quantify the efficacy of the method in the laboratory using the rBC surrogate Aquadag. Polydisperse and mobility-selected samples (100–500 nm diameter, 0.44–36.05 fg), are quantified by a second SP2. Removal rates are reported by mass and number. For the mobility-selected samples, the average percentages removed by mass and number of the original size are 88.9 +/- 18.6% and 87.3 +/- 21.9%, respectively. Removal of Aquadag is efficient for particles >100 nm mass-equivalent diameter (dme), enabling application for microphysical studies. However, the removal of particles >100 nm dme is less efficient. Absorption and scattering measurements are reported to assess its use to isolate brown carbon (BrC) absorption. Scattering removal rates for the mobility-selected samples are >90% on average, yet absorption rates are 53% on average across all wavelengths. Therefore, application to isolate effects of microphysical properties determined by larger sizes is promising, but will be challenging for optical properties. The results reported also have implications for other instruments employing internal LII, e.g., the Soot Particle Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (SP-AMS).

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)