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Calibrating the Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Angelina Miller


Small particles suspended in the air called aerosols play important roles in radiative forcing and human health, but there is still much that is unknown about the net effect of aerosols on environmental interactions and how those will play into future climate models. In order to better understand where our earth is heading, and possibly plan for ways to mitigate this change, we need to learn more about these versatile nano-particles, how they form, and what else they can affect. One instrument used to do this is the sizing mobility particle scanner (SMPS). The SMPS measures particle size and concentrations for particles between roughly 8.51nm and 461.4nm, but its measurements can drift over time. The University of Utah has a SMPS on the top of the William Browning Building, and it is essential that this data is accurate, organized, and easy to work with so that it can be used to better understand the makeup of our atmosphere in the Salt Lake Valley. To ensure the accuracy of the measurements from the SMPS, a manual calibration and analysis of the instrument is needed to adjust for any uncertainties. Calibrations are run by running polystyrene latex micro-beads through an atomizer and into the SMPS so that any shift in the instrument's baseline can be adjusted to match the peak particle size reading with the expected value corresponding to the bead size. For future calibrations, this process will be repeated with multiple different sizes of microbeads and finally without any added microbeads so that a statistical analysis of the data received can be completed. These calibrations will ensure that any unexpected readings are adjusted so that future and past measurements by this instrument can be validated.

University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #D74
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Gannet Hallar