Abstract

We have assembled an aerosol-fluorescence spectrum analyzer (AFS), which can measure the fluorescence spectra and elastic scattering of airborne particles as they flow through a laser beam. The aerosols traverse a scattering cell where they are illuminated with intense (50 kW/cm2) light inside the cavity of an argon-ion laser operating at 488 nm. This AFS can obtain fluorescence spectra of individual dye-doped polystyrene microspheres as small as 0.5 μm in diameter. The spectra obtained from microspheres doped with pink and green-yellow dyes are clearly different. We have also detected the fluorescence spectra of airborne particles (although not single particles) made from various biological materials, e.g., Bacillus subtilis spores, B. anthrasis spores, riboflavin, and tree leaves. The AFS may be useful in detecting and characterizing airborne bacteria and other airborne particles of biological origin.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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