Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/ar-2024-2
https://doi.org/10.5194/ar-2024-2
29 Jan 2024
 | 29 Jan 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AR.

Reduced seed-material dependence of a condensation particle counter

Peter Josef Wlasits, Joonas Enroth, Joonas Vanhanen, Aki Pajunoja, Hinrich Grothe, Paul Martin Winkler, and Dominik Stolzenburg

Abstract. Modern condensation particle counters (CPCs) are indispensable instruments for studies of aerosols in all measurement environments. Relying on heterogeneous nucleation as basic principle, the composition dependence of particle activation is a source of profound uncertainty for the accurate assessment of particle number concentrations. While development efforts successfully pushed down minimum detectable particle sizes in recent years, composition-dependent counting efficiencies have remained to be a persisting issue in aerosol research. Addressing this pressing problem, we present calibrations of a newly developed CPC, the Airmodus A30, that uses non-hazardous propylene glycol as working fluid. Our results conclusively demonstrate that composition-dependent particle detection can be reduced to the brink of disappearance by innovative choice of the working fluid. Counting efficiencies were determined for a set of size-selected and chemically diverse seed particles and the measured 50 % cutoff diameters were compared to previous studies. Using computational fluid dynamics simulations, we show that the composition dependence appears to decrease with increasing saturation ratios achieved inside the CPC. Hence, our study assists in the development of future CPCs and elucidates a potential mechanism to reduce measurement uncertainties arising from composition-dependent counting efficiencies.

Peter Josef Wlasits, Joonas Enroth, Joonas Vanhanen, Aki Pajunoja, Hinrich Grothe, Paul Martin Winkler, and Dominik Stolzenburg

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on ar-2024-2', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on ar-2024-2', Anonymous Referee #2, 12 Apr 2024
Peter Josef Wlasits, Joonas Enroth, Joonas Vanhanen, Aki Pajunoja, Hinrich Grothe, Paul Martin Winkler, and Dominik Stolzenburg
Peter Josef Wlasits, Joonas Enroth, Joonas Vanhanen, Aki Pajunoja, Hinrich Grothe, Paul Martin Winkler, and Dominik Stolzenburg

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Short summary
The manuscript highlights that the composition dependence of the counting efficiency of condensation particle counters can be immensely reduced by choice of the working fluid. A butanol- and a propylene glycol-based version of the Airmodus A30 was calibrated using a set of four different seed particles. Our study shows that composition-dependent counting efficiencies almost vanish in case of the propylene glycol-based CPC. Simulations of supersaturation profiles were used to explain the results.
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