Abstract

Simultaneously retrieving the complex refractive indices of the core and shell of coated aerosol particles given the measured extinction efficiency as a function of particle dimensions (core diameter and coated diameter) is much more difficult than retrieving the complex refractive index of homogeneous aerosol particles. Not only must the minimization be performed over a four-parameter space, making it less efficient, but in addition the absolute value of the difference between the measured extinction and the calculated extinction does not have an easily distinguished global minimum. Rather, there are a number of local minima to which almost all conventional retrieval algorithms converge. In this work, we develop a new (to our knowledge) retrieval algorithm that employs the numerical method known as simulated annealing with an innovative “temperature” schedule. This study is limited only to spherical particles with a concentric shell and to cases in which the diameter of both the core and the coated particle are known. We find that when the top ranking particle sizes according to their information content are combined from separate experiments to make up the particle size distribution, the simulated annealing retrieval algorithm is quite robust and by far superior to a greedy random perturbation approach often used.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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