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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Nov 2018

Research article | 12 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Spectral Intensity Bioaerosol Sensor (SIBS): A new Instrument for Spectrally Resolved Fluorescence Detection of Single Particles in Real-Time

Tobias Könemann1, Nicole Savage2,a, Thomas Klimach1, David Walter1, Janine Fröhlich-Nowoisky1, Hang Su1, Ulrich Pöschl1, Alex Huffman2, and Christopher Pöhlker1 Tobias Könemann et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Multiphase Chemistry Department, P.O. Box 3060, 55020 Mainz, Germany
  • 2University of Denver, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, 2190 E. Iliff Ave., Denver, Colorado 80208, USA
  • anow at: Aerosol Devices Inc., 430 North College Avenue # 430, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524, USA

Abstract. Primary biological aerosol particles (PBAP) in the atmosphere are highly relevant for the Earth system, climate, and public health. The analysis of PBAP, however, remains challenging due to their high diversity and large spatiotemporal variability. For real-time PBAP analysis, light-induced fluorescence (LIF) instruments have been developed and widely used in laboratory and ambient studies. The interpretation of fluorescence data from these instruments, however, is often limited by a lack of spectroscopic information. This study introduces a new instrument – the Spectral Intensity Bioaerosol Sensor (SIBS) – that resolves fluorescence spectra for single particles and, thus, promises to expand the scope of fluorescent PBAP quantification and classification.

The SIBS shares key design components with the latest versions of the Wideband Integrated Bioaerosol Sensor (WIBS) and the findings presented here are also relevant for the widely deployed WIBS-4A and WIBS-NEO as well as other LIF instruments. The key features of the SIBS and findings of this study can be summarized as follows:

– Particle sizing yields reproducible linear responses for particles in the range of 300nm to 20µm. The lower sizing limit is significantly smaller than for earlier commercial LIF instruments (e.g., WIBS-4A and the Ultraviolet Aerodynamic Particle Sizer (UV-APS)), expanding the analytical scope into the accumulation mode size range.

– Fluorescence spectra are recorded for two excitation wavelengths (λex=285 and 370nm) and a wide range of emission wavelengths (λmean=302–721nm) with a resolution of 16 detection channels, which is higher than for most other commercially available LIF bioaerosol sensors.

– Fluorescence spectra obtained for 16 reference compounds confirm that the SIBS provides sufficient spectral resolution to distinguish major modes of molecular fluorescence. For example, the SIBS resolves the spectral difference between bacteriochlorophyll and chlorophyll a/b.

– A spectral correction of the instrument-specific detector response is essential to use the full fluorescence emission range.

– Asymmetry factor (AF) data were assessed and were found to provide only limited analytical information.

– In test measurements with ambient air, the SIBS worked reliably and yielded characteristically different spectra for single particles in the coarse mode with an overall fluorescent particle fraction of ~4% (3σ threshold), which is consistent with earlier studies in comparable environments.

Tobias Könemann et al.
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Status: open (until 07 Jan 2019)
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Tobias Könemann et al.
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Short summary
This study presents a comprehensive assessment of the SIBS, a new instrument for spectrally resolved fluorescence detection of single particles. Exemplary ambient data and fluorescence spectra obtained for 16 reference compounds (biofluorophores and PSLs) show that the SIBS has the ability to expand the scope of fluorescent bioaerosol quantification and classification. Detailed technical insights will be broadly beneficial for users of various WIBS generations and other LIF instruments.
This study presents a comprehensive assessment of the SIBS, a new instrument for spectrally...