An aerosol electrometer with enhanced detection limit was developed for measuring the collected particles electrical current ranging from −50 pA to 50 pA with no range switching necessary. The detection limit was enhanced by suppressing the electric current measurement noise and improving the detection efficiency. A theoretical model for the aerosol electrometer has been established to investigate the noise effect factors and verified experimentally. The model showed that the noise was a function of ambient temperature, and it was affected by the characteristics of feedback resistor and operational amplifier simultaneously. The Faraday cup structure of the aerosol electrometer was optimized by adopting a newly designed cup-shaped metal filter which increased the surface area of the cup; thus the particle interception efficiency was improved. The aerosol electrometer performance-linearity, noise and the particle detection efficiency, were evaluated experimentally. When compared with TSI-3068B, a 99.4% (
) statistical correlation was achieved. The results also showed that the root mean square noise and the peak-to-peak noise were 0.31 fA and 1.55 fA, respectively. The particle detection efficiency was greater than 99.3% when measuring particle diameter larger than 7.0 nm.
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