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Sensors (Basel). 2018 Nov 12;18(11). pii: E3889. doi: 10.3390/s18113889.

On the Performance of an Aerosol Electrometer with Enhanced Detection Limit.

Yang Y1,2, Yu T3,4, Zhang J5,6, Wang J7,8, Wang W9,10, Gui H11,12, Liu J13,14,15.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China. yxyang@aiofm.ac.cn.
2
Science Island Branch of Graduate School, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China. yxyang@aiofm.ac.cn.
3
Key Laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China. tzyu@aiofm.ac.cn.
4
CAS Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China. tzyu@aiofm.ac.cn.
5
Key Laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China. jszhang@aiofm.ac.cn.
6
CAS Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China. jszhang@aiofm.ac.cn.
7
Key Laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China. wangjiansnbf@163.com.
8
CAS Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China. wangjiansnbf@163.com.
9
Key Laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China. wywang@aiofm.ac.cn.
10
Science Island Branch of Graduate School, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China. wywang@aiofm.ac.cn.
11
Key Laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China. hqgui@aiofm.ac.cn.
12
CAS Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China. hqgui@aiofm.ac.cn.
13
Key Laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China. jgliu@aiofm.ac.cn.
14
Science Island Branch of Graduate School, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China. jgliu@aiofm.ac.cn.
15
CAS Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China. jgliu@aiofm.ac.cn.

Abstract

An aerosol electrometer with enhanced detection limit was developed for measuring the collected particles electrical current ranging from -50 pA to 50 pA with no range switching necessary. The detection limit was enhanced by suppressing the electric current measurement noise and improving the detection efficiency. A theoretical model for the aerosol electrometer has been established to investigate the noise effect factors and verified experimentally. The model showed that the noise was a function of ambient temperature, and it was affected by the characteristics of feedback resistor and operational amplifier simultaneously. The Faraday cup structure of the aerosol electrometer was optimized by adopting a newly designed cup-shaped metal filter which increased the surface area of the cup; thus the particle interception efficiency was improved. The aerosol electrometer performance-linearity, noise and the particle detection efficiency, were evaluated experimentally. When compared with TSI-3068B, a 99.4% ( R 2 ) statistical correlation was achieved. The results also showed that the root mean square noise and the peak-to-peak noise were 0.31 fA and 1.55 fA, respectively. The particle detection efficiency was greater than 99.3% when measuring particle diameter larger than 7.0 nm.

KEYWORDS:

aerosol electrometer; detection efficiency; low detection limit; sub-femtoamp noise

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