The authors of this article have developed an aerosol sensor consisting of a focused laser beam, a inlet nozzle system that sends aerosol particles across the laser beam waist, and a system for collecting onto two photodetectors the radiation scattered by the particles within the angular ranges 15.6° -- 29.4° and 29.4° -- 37°, respectively. Two concentric Fresnel lenses are used for collecting the scattered radiation, allowing to reduce the weight and cost of the device and to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. The nozzle directs the aerosol particles into the laser beam waist with deviations of no more than 1 mm. The errors arising from these deviations are incorporated into the data-processing method, which helps mitigating their effect in the resulting measurement.
The identification of the scattering amplitudes and time of flight consists of four steps. In the first step, the cross-covariance of both scattering signals is calculated, and this is used to filter out signals with low signal-to-noise ratio. In the second step, the resulting signal is analyzed for symmetric Gaussian scattering events, and the amplitudes and time of flight are determined. This reduces the problem of coincident particles. In the third step, the scattering amplitude of each event is determined in both scattering signals. Finally, in the fourth step, the scattering amplitudes of both angle intervals and amplitude ratios are determined.
The authors apply amplitude ratios for the identification of particle size. To reduce the error resulting from uncertainty in refractive index, they use the sum of signals from both photodetectors in combination with scattering modeling based on the Mie theory.
A characteristic feature of this article is its detailed analysis of the processes leading to deviations from the ideal performance of the sensor. The analysis of such processes provided by the authors will undoubtedly draw the attention of other researchers in the area. One can expect follow-up research in the field of aerosol fluent aerodynamics for the focusing of particles on the axis of a laser, as well as in the processing of signals from several photodetectors for particle characterization.
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