Condensation Nucleus Discriminator Making Optical Measurements on Fog: A Tool for Environmental Research

Science  08 Jun 1973:
Vol. 180, Issue 4090, pp. 1064-1067
DOI: 10.1126/science.180.4090.1064


An instrument providing a new, rapid, and accurate method of determining the number and critical radii of condensation nuclei with radii under 200 angstroms is described. Based on the principle of the cloud chamber, the instrument measures transient changes in the attenuation and scattering of a monochromatic light beam by the growing fog droplets. From data obtained the absolute number concentration and radii of condensation nuclei can be calculated. Preliminary studies of aerosol formation in beta-irradiated mixtures of air and sulfur dioxide showed that carbon monoxide and methane inhibit the formation of nuclei; relative rate constants can be deduced. Some applications of this instrument for environmental and basic research are pointed out.