3 October 2008 Dual-wavelength-excitation single-particle fluorescence spectrometer/particle sorter for real-time measurement of organic carbon and biological aerosols
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We report the development of a Single-Particle Fluorescence Spectrometer (SPFS) system capable of measuring two UV-laser excited fluorescence spectra from a single particle on-the-fly. The two dispersed fluorescence spectra are obtained from excitation by two lasers at different wavelengths (263 nm and 351 nm). The SPFS samples single particles with sizes primarily in the 1-10 &mgr;m range. The fluorescence spectra are recorded from 280 nm to 600 nm (in 20 channels) for 263 nm excitation and from 370 nm to 700 nm (in 22 channels) for 351 nm excitation. The elastic scattering (channel 4 and 9) is also recorded for sizing each particle. A time stamp for single particles is marked with a variable time interval resolution from 10 ms to 10 minutes. The SPFS employs a virtual-impactor concentrator to concentrate respirable-sized particles with a resulting (size-dependent) effective flow rate of around 100 liters/min. The SPFS can measure single-particle spectra at a maximum rate of 90,000/sec, although the highest rates we have experienced for the ambient are only several hundred/sec. When the SPFS is combined with an aerodynamic deflector (puffer) to sort particles according to their fluorescence spectral characteristics, the SPFS/puffer system can selectively deflect and collect an enriched sample of targeted particles (at rates limited by the puffer) of 1200 particles/sec, for further examination. In laboratory tests, aerosol particles with similar UV-LIF spectra (e.g. B. subtilis and E.coli) are puffed into the reservoir of a micro-fluidic cell, where fluorescent-labeled antibodies bind to them and were classified by their labeled fluorescence. Measurements of the background ambient aerosol with the SPFS system made at sites with different regional climate (Connecticut, Maryland, and New Mexico) were clustered (unstructured hierarchical analysis) into 8-10 groups, with over 90% of all the fluorescent particles contained within these clusters (threshold dot product=0.9). However, the percentage of aerosols in each profile differed by sampling location. The unique features and performance of the SPFS/puffer system compared to other fluorescence-based bio-aerosol sensors will be discussed, with emphasis on reduction of false alarm rates.
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Yong-Le Pan, Ron G. Pinnick, Steven C. Hill, Hermes Huang, Richard K. Chang, "Dual-wavelength-excitation single-particle fluorescence spectrometer/particle sorter for real-time measurement of organic carbon and biological aerosols", Proc. SPIE 7116, Optically Based Biological and Chemical Detection for Defence IV, 71160J (3 October 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.801774; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.801774

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