Improved technique for measuring the size distribution of black carbon particles in liquid water

<p>We developed an improved technique for measuring the size distribution of black carbon (BC) particles suspended in liquid water to facilitate quantitative studies of the wet deposition of BC. The measurement system, which consists of a nebulizer and a single-particle soot photometer, incorporates two improvements into the system that we developed earlier. First, we extended the upper limit of the detectable BC size from 0.9 μm to about 4.0 μm by modifying the photo-detector for measuring the laser-induced incandescence signal. Second, we introduced a pneumatic nebulizer (Marin-5) with a high extraction efficiency (∼50.0%) that was independent of particle diameter up to 2.0 μm. For BC mass concentrations less than 70 μg L<sup>−1</sup>, we experimentally showed that the diameters of BC particles did not appreciably change during the Marin-5 extraction process, consistent with theoretical calculations. Finally, we demonstrated by laboratory experiments that the size distributions of ambient BC particles changed little during their growth into cloud droplets under supersaturation of water vapor. Using our improved system, we measured the size distributions of BC particles simultaneously in air and rainwater in Tokyo during summer 2014. We observed that the size distributions of BC particles in rainwater shifted to larger sizes compared with those observed in ambient air, indicating that larger BC particles in air were removed more efficiently by precipitation.</p> <p>Copyright © 2016 American Association for Aerosol Research</p>