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Appl Opt. 1996 Aug 20;35(24):4919-26. doi: 10.1364/AO.35.004919.

High-resolution size measurement of single spherical particles with a fast Fourier transform of the angular scattering intensity.


A technique is described and demonstrated to measure the size of spherical particles of known index of refraction by laser light scattering with an accuracy of better than 1%. This technique entails imaging the angular scattering intensity onto a photodiode array and applying a fast Fourier transform to the array output to obtain a frequency and phase corresponding to the number and angular position of the scattering lobes. Errors associated with particle trajectory effects and changes in the index of refraction are also considered. Results are not affected by the former, whereas variations of the refractive index by 2%, as may be typical, for example, of the transient heat up of a liquid hydrocarbon droplet, cause a deterioration of sizing accuracy to approximately 3%. The technique can in principle be applied in real time at data rates as high as 20-30 kHz with a modest equipment investment. Therefore, the measurement of droplet evaporation rates in dilute sprays with unprecedented accuracy appears to be feasible.

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