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Open AccessArticle

On the Performance of an Aerosol Electrometer with Enhanced Detection Limit

by 1,2, 1,3, 1,3,*, 1,3, 1,2, 1,3 and 1,2,3,*
1
Key Laboratory of Environmental Optics and Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China
2
Science Island Branch of Graduate School, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China
3
CAS Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2018, 18(11), 3889; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18113889
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 9 November 2018 / Published: 12 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors for Emerging Environmental Markers and Contaminants)
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% ( R 2 ) 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: aerosol electrometer; sub-femtoamp noise; detection efficiency; low detection limit aerosol electrometer; sub-femtoamp noise; detection efficiency; low detection limit
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yang, Y.; Yu, T.; Zhang, J.; Wang, J.; Wang, W.; Gui, H.; Liu, J. On the Performance of an Aerosol Electrometer with Enhanced Detection Limit. Sensors 2018, 18, 3889.

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