Project: Gas Aerosol Nucleation Spectrometer

_x000D_OBJETIVE:_x000D__x000D_The goal of the project is to develop a complete measurement solution to solve the problem of particle size characterization in the first stages of aerosol formation: the nucleation stage. The proposed instrument for this goal is based on the coupling of a high resolution Differential Mobility Analyser (DMA) that classifies particles smaller than 1nm with a new Condensation Nuclei Counter able to detect particles smaller than 1nm. The instrument will be user friendly and able to be operated remotely using internet 3G or Ethernet connection._x000D__x000D_BACKGROUND:_x000D__x000D_The importance of the instrument is given by the influence of atmospheric aerosols in climate change and in air quality, related to human health. The study of the initial nuclei is crucial because the composition and dynamics of the mentioned nuclei determines whether the aerosol will be formed or not. Nucleation is currently a hot issue in the aerosol science field and much attention has been devoted to the problem as can be seen in the literature [Kulmala et al. Science, 318, 2007] and in the appearance of a special issue in one of the most relevant publications on aerosols, the Journal of Aerosol Science and Technology in April, 2011 [Aerosol Sci and Tech, 45 (4), 2011]. One of the most important difficulties for the study of aerosol nucleation is the lack of instrumentation with good resolution and enough sensitivity for size-classifying the sub-2nm nanoparticles. The classifying and counting performances of currrent instruments decline from 5nm to 3nm, being impossible to measure any particle below that size. However, nucleation phenomena occur below 3nm, where molecules, molecular clusters, and particle nuclei coexist. Therefore, there is a real need for the development of an aerosol analyzer for very small nanoparticles. However, none of the instruments currently used in nucleation studies have been developed originally for this particular problem and, consequently, all of them show limitations, given that they are instruments adopted from other fields. No specific instrument is nowadays available in the market to study the size of sub-nm particles._x000D_GANS proposal is based on the development and coupling of three stages to achieve a complete measurement solution:_x000D_The first stage is a safe multipurpose ion source, an Ultra-Violet (UV) light ion source and a Corona Discharge (CD). This choice allows us to avoid the radioactive ion sources traditionally used for these instruments decreasing the manufacturing costs and the possibility of switching off the ion source in order to measure the naturally charged ions. _x000D_The second stage is a high resolution DMA specially designed for classifying ions according to their electrical mobility (which is related to the ion size), allowing resolving powers close to 100 for sub-nm ions, ten times higher than traditional ion mobility spectrometers in the market. _x000D_The third stage is the detector. We will redesign and develop a nano Condensation Nucleus Counter (nCNC) able to detect small ions below 1nm by activation. New condensation fluids have to be tested and additionally the interface with the DMA has to be developed for the optimum flow-rates needed for the best performance of both devices. In this way, the final instrument will be a UV-DMA-nCNC._x000D_The final instrument will be used both in field measurements and in lab measurements, so the use of remote communications (3G, Ethernet) will allow the remote control of the instrument. _x000D__x000D_CONSORTIUM: _x000D__x000D_The project consortium consists of two R&D-performing SMEs and one university, from two different EU member states. Participants have complementary scientific, technological and commercial experience and capabilities. The Project Coordinator, Ramem S.A. (Spain) is a European leading company in the detection and analysis of airborne nanoparticles and volatile compounds by means of novel approaches to differential mobility analysis. Airmodus Oy (Finland) has developed and will soon launch advanced nanoparticle detectors based on condensation growth. The Division of Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Helsinki (UHEL, Finland) is the world's leading group in the development of cutting-edge instrumentation for the measurement of the properties of atmospheric aerosols and ions with the purpose of understanding aerosol formation and chemistry in the atmosphere, and their effects on climate change and health. The collaboration between two European aerosol instrumentation companies and one of the most important and renowned research groups in aerosol measurements guarantees the success of the project in terms of technical development, market launch and sales. Additionally, the collaboration will define a strategic alliance in the nucleation problem, resulting in a leading position to provide instrumentation for eventual regulation._x000D_

Acronym GANS (Reference Number: 6911)
Duration 01/03/2012 - 31/10/2014
Project Topic GANS is aimed to develop a completely new instrument to study the initial stages in the formation of atmospheric aerosols, key in climate research. No instrumentation is currently available for this task and it would provide new information relating the aerosol origin with gas phase precursors.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The CO result for Airmodus is Airmodus A11 nano Condensation Nucleus Counter system that can be used also with different size classifiers such as the Ramem DMA system allowing a size distribution measurement of freshly nucleated particles and small clusters.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 7

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 RAMEM Coordinator Spain
3 Airmodus Oy Partner Finland
3 University of Helsinky, UHEL Partner Finland