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Overview of measurements and current instrumentation for 1–10 nm aerosol particle number size distributions

Kangasluoma, Juha and Cai, Runlong and Jiang, Jingkun and Deng, Chenjuan and Stolzenburg, Dominik and Ahonen, Lauri R. and Chan, Tommy and Fu, Yueyun and Kim, Changhyuk and Laurila, Tiia M. and Zhou, Ying and Dada, Lubna and Sulo, Juha and Flagan, Richard C. and Kulmala, Markku and Petäjä, Tuukka and Lehtipalo, Katrianne (2020) Overview of measurements and current instrumentation for 1–10 nm aerosol particle number size distributions. Journal of Aerosol Science, 148 . Art. No. 105584. ISSN 0021-8502. doi:10.1016/j.jaerosci.2020.105584.

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Interest in understanding gas-to-particle phase transformation in several disciplines such as atmospheric sciences, material synthesis, and combustion has led to the development of several distinct instruments that can measure the particle size distributions down to the sizes of large molecules and molecular clusters, at which the initial particle formation and growth takes place. These instruments, which include the condensation particle counter battery, a variety of electrical mobility spectrometers and the particle size magnifier, have been usually characterized in laboratory experiments using carefully prepared calibration aerosols. They are then applied, alone or in combination, to study the gas-to-particle transition in experiments that produce particles with a wide range of compositions and other properties. Only a few instrument intercomparisons in either laboratory or field conditions have been reported, raising the question: how accurately can the sub-10 nm particle number size distributions be measured with the currently available instrumentation? Here, we review previous studies in which sub-10 nm particle size distributions have been measured with at least two independent instruments. We present recent data from three sites that deploy the current state-of-the-art instrumentation: Hyytiälä, Beijing, and the CLOUD chamber. After discussing the status of the sub-10 nm size distribution measurements, we present a comprehensive uncertainty analysis for these methods that suggests that our present understanding on the sources of uncertainties quite well captures the observed deviations between different instruments in the size distribution measurements. Finally, based on present understanding of the characteristics of a number of systems in which gas-to-particle conversion takes place, and of the instrumental limitations, we suggest guidelines for selecting suitable instruments for various applications.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Kangasluoma, Juha0000-0002-1639-1187
Stolzenburg, Dominik0000-0003-1014-1360
Kim, Changhyuk0000-0002-8744-4880
Sulo, Juha0000-0001-9027-0351
Flagan, Richard C.0000-0001-5690-770X
Additional Information:© 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license. Received 15 November 2019, Revised 29 April 2020, Accepted 9 May 2020, Available online 30 May 2020. We are indebted for the anonymous reviewer for the extensive, insightful and detailed reviews. This work was supported by UHEL Faculty of Science support grant (75284140) and 3-year grant (75284132), Finnish Academy of Science projects (1325656, 1306853 and 1296628), Academy of Finland Center of Excellence in Atmospheric Sciences (272041), ERC Grant NANODYNAMITE (616075), ERC grant ATM-GTP (742206), National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFC0209503), National Science Foundation of China (21876094), Pusan National University Research Grant, 2018, National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2019R1F1A1058854), and the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 654109 and previously from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement n° 262254.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
University of Helsinki75284140
University of Helsinki75284132
Finnish Academy of Science1325656
Finnish Academy of Science1306853
Finnish Academy of Science1296628
Academy of Finland272041
European Research Council (ERC)616075
European Research Council (ERC)742206
National Key Research and Development Program of China2017YFC0209503
National Natural Science Foundation of China21876094
Pusan National University Research2018
National Research Foundation of KoreaNRF-2019R1F1A1058854
European Research Council (ERC)654109
European Research Council (ERC)262254
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200601-131656962
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Juha Kangasluoma, Runlong Cai, Jingkun Jiang, Chenjuan Deng, Dominik Stolzenburg, Lauri R. Ahonen, Tommy Chan, Yueyun Fu, Changhyuk Kim, Tiia M. Laurila, Ying Zhou, Lubna Dada, Juha Sulo, Richard C. Flagan, Markku Kulmala, Tuukka Petäjä, Katrianne Lehtipalo, Overview of measurements and current instrumentation for 1–10 nm aerosol particle number size distributions, Journal of Aerosol Science, Volume 148, 2020, 105584, ISSN 0021-8502, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103601
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Jun 2020 21:11
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:23

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