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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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doi:10.5194/amt-2017-1
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
14 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Quantifying and improving the performance of the Laser Ablation Aerosol Particle Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (LAAPToF) instrument
Maria A. Zawadowicz1, Sara Lance1,2, John T. Jayne3, Philip Croteau3, Douglas R. Worsnop3, Fabian Mahrt4, Thomas Leisner5, and Daniel J. Cziczo1,6 1Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts , USA
2Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, State University of New York, Albany, New York, USA
3Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts, USA
4Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
5Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
6Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Abstract. Single particle mass spectrometer (SPMS) instruments have been used for in-situ chemical characterization of atmospheric aerosols, both in the field and laboratory, for over two decades. SPMSs typically combine precise optical particle sizing with laser desorption and ionization followed by time of flight mass spectrometry. Among the advantages of SPMSs over other aerosol chemistry measurement techniques are their single particle resolution and high sensitivity to trace chemical species. The AeroMegt Laser Ablation Aerosol Particle Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (LAAPToF) is a commercially available member of this instrument class, aiming for a compact size and simplicity for the end user. This paper quantifies the performance of LAAPToF with an emphasis on optical counting efficiency. Recommendations for improving detection compared to the base LAAPToF hardware are described. Our results show that custom changes can lead to over two orders of magnitude improvement in optical counting efficiency in the size range 500–2000 nm vacuum aerodynamic diameter. We also present mass spectral performance for characterizing atmospherically-relevant particles in a comparison to a current SPMS design, the Particle Analysis by Laser Mass Spectrometry (PALMS).

Citation: Zawadowicz, M. A., Lance, S., Jayne, J. T., Croteau, P., Worsnop, D. R., Mahrt, F., Leisner, T., and Cziczo, D. J.: Quantifying and improving the performance of the Laser Ablation Aerosol Particle Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (LAAPToF) instrument, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2017-1, in review, 2017.
Maria A. Zawadowicz et al.
Maria A. Zawadowicz et al.
Maria A. Zawadowicz et al.

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Short summary
Single Particle Mass Spectrometers (SPMSs) are instruments that detect single aerosol particles, size them and provide their mass spectra. Laser Ablation Aerosol Particle Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (LAAPToF) is the newest commercial addition to this instrument family. In this paper, we quantify its initial performance and describe simple hardware changes that resulted in an improvement in optical particle counting efficiency. We also discuss LAAPToF in context of other SPMS instruments.
Single Particle Mass Spectrometers (SPMSs) are instruments that detect single aerosol particles,...
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