Abstract

A numerical model evaluating the response of a typical integrating nephelometer is described. The model incorporates the actual scattering geometry as well as the effects of a finite light source, detector size, and a nonideal Lambertian diffuser. An angular scattering weighting function is introduced to provide a tractable approach in numerical calculations and easy application. Using established size distribution ensembles associated with a few representative aerosol types, we compare the calculated response of a real nephelometer with that of an ideal, or perfect, nephelometer. The results indicate that, frequently, the nephelometer-produced aerosol-scattering coefficient is of the order of 10–20% too small; but for some naturally occurring aerosols, the difference may be as large as 40–50%. For a multiple-wavelength nephelometer, the response model can be employed to estimate the expected error in the aerosol-scattering coefficients directly from the measurements themselves.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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