Session 21(P) - Air pollution
Performance of a Miniaturized, Lightweight, and Cost-effective Parallel-Plate Differential Mobility Analyzer
Size resolved measurements of aerosol particles are essential for understanding key processes in the atmosphere, and assessing their potential impacts on human health and climate. This has led to an increasing demand for compact and portable, yet cost-effective, instruments for characterizing the atmospheric aerosol. A commonly employed instrument for sizing aerosol particles in the sub-micrometer range is the Differential Mobility Analyzer (DMA). Commercial DMAs weigh several kilograms, and have a cost higher than 10 kEUR. When employed in aerosol size spectrometers, they attribute a poor time resolution to the system (in the range of several minutes), as they require scanning of their operating conditions. This limits their ability to probe rapidly-changing aerosols caused by certain processes. One way to overcome this limitation is to employ several DMAs operated at fixed conditions (instead of one in which the operating conditions are scanned), but doing so multiplies the weight, the size and the cost of the entire system. Here we report on the design and testing of a lightweight, miniaturized and cost-effective Parallel-Plate DMA. The weight of this DMA is reduced to less than 1 kg, whereas its manufacturing cost is two orders of magnitude less than that of their commercial counterparts.