Abstract

In an effort to establish a more reliable set of optical cross sections for a variety of chemical and biological aerosol simulants, we have developed a flow-through photoacoustic system that is capable of measuring absolute, mass-normalized extinction and absorption cross sections. By employing a flow-through design we avoid issues associated with closed aerosol photoacoustic systems and improve sensitivity. Although the results shown here were obtained for the tunable CO2 laser waveband region, i.e., 9.20–10.80 µm, application to other wavelengths is easily achievable. The aerosols considered are categorized as biological, chemical, and inorganic in origin, i.e., Bacillus atrophaeus endospores, dimethicone silicone oil (SF-96 grade 50), and kaolin clay powder (alumina and silicate), respectively. Results compare well with spectral extinction measured previously by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. Comparisons with Mie theory calculations based on previously published complex indices of refraction and measured size distributions are also presented.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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