Single Particle Soot Photometer intercomparison at the AIDA chamber

M. Laborde, M. Schnaiter, C. Linke, H. Saathoff, K.-H. Naumann, O. Möhler, S. Berlenz, U. Wagner, J. W. Taylor, D. Liu, M. Flynn, J. D. Allan (+11 others)
2012 Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions  
Soot particles, consisting of black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC), inorganic salts, and trace elements, are emitted into the atmosphere during incomplete combustion. Accurate measurements of atmospheric BC are important as BC particles cause adverse health effects and impact the climate. Unfortunately, the accurate measurement of the properties and mass concentrations of BC particles remains difficult. The Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2) can contribute to improving this situation by
more » ... his situation by measuring the mass of refractory BC in individual particles as well as its mixing state. Here, the results of the first detailed SP2 intercomparison, involving 6 SP2s from 6 different research groups, are presented, including the most evolved data products that can presently be calculated from SP2 measurements. It was shown that a detection efficiency of almost 100 % down to 1 fg BC per particle can readily be achieved, and that this limit can be pushed down to ∼ 0.2 fg BC with optimal SP2 setup. Number and mass size distributions of BC cores agreed within ±5 % and ±10 %, respectively, in between the SP2s, with larger deviations in the range below 1 fg BC. The accuracy of the SP2's mass concentration measurement depends on the calibration material chosen. The SP2 has previously been shown to be equally sensitive to fullerene soot and ambient BC from sources where fossil fuel was dominant and less sensitive to fullerene soot than to Aquadag. Fullerene soot was therefore chosen as the standard calibration material by the SP2 user community; however, many data sets rely solely on Aquadag calibration measurements. The difference in SP2 sensitivity was found to be almost equal (fullerene soot to Aquadag response ratio of ∼ 0.75 at 8.9 fg BC) for all SP2s. This allows the calculation of a fullerene soot equivalent calibration curve from a measured Aquadag calibration, when no fullerene soot calibration is available. It could be shown that this approach works well for all SP2s over the mass range of 1-10 fg. This range is suitable for typical BC mass size distributions in the ambient air far from sources. Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union. Atmos. Meas. Tech., 5, 3077-3097, 2012
doi:10.5194/amtd-5-3519-2012 fatcat:sibomnto3fdfjeucq3r2yr5jvq