Single particle measurements of bouncing particles and in-situ collection efficiency from an airborne aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) with light scattering detection

Other literature type English OPEN
Liao, Jin ; Brock, Charles A. ; Murphy, Daniel M. ; Sueper, Donna T. ; Welti, André ; Middlebrook, Ann M. (2017)

A light scattering module was coupled to an airborne, compact time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (LS-ToF-AMS) to investigate collection efficiency (CE) while obtaining non-refractory aerosol chemical composition measurements during the Southeast Nexus (SENEX) campaign. In this instrument, particles typically larger than ~&thinsp;250&thinsp;nm in vacuum aerodynamic diameter scatter light from an internal laser beam and trigger saving individual particle mass spectra. Over 33,000 particles are characterized as either prompt (27&thinsp;%), delayed (15&thinsp;%), or null (58&thinsp;%), according to the appearance time and intensity of their mass spectral signals. The individual particle mass from the spectra is proportional to the mass derived from the vacuum aerodynamic diameter determined by the light scattering signals (<i>d</i><sub><i>va</i>-LS</sub>) rather than the traditional particle time-of-flight (PToF) size (<i>d</i><sub><i>va</i></sub>). The delayed particles capture about 80&thinsp;% of the total chemical mass compared to prompt ones. Both field and laboratory data indicate that the relative intensities of various ions in the prompt spectra show more fragmentation compared to the delayed spectra. The particles with a delayed mass spectral signal likely bounced on the vaporizer and vaporized later on a lower temperature surface within the confines of the ionization source. Because delayed particles are detected at a later time by the mass spectrometer than expected, they can affect the interpretation of PToF mass distributions especially at the larger sizes. CE, measured by the average number or mass fractions of particles optically detected that have measureable mass spectra, varied significantly (0.2&ndash;0.9) in different air masses. Relatively higher null fractions and corresponding lower CE for this study may have been related to the lower sensitivity of the AMS during SENEX. The measured CE generally agreed with the CE parameterization based on ambient chemical composition, including for acidic particles that had a higher CE as expected from previous studies.
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