A parallel plate dimensional electrical mobility separator and laminar flow water condensation provide rapid, mobility-based particle sizing at concentrations typical of the remote atmosphere. Particles are separated spatially within the electrical mobility separator, enlarged through water condensation, and imaged onto a CCD array. The mobility separation distributes particles in accordance with their size. The condensation enlarges size-separated particles by water condensation while they are still within the gap of the mobility drift tube. Once enlarged the particles are illuminated by a laser. At a pre-selected frequency, typically 10 Hz, the position of all of the individual particles illuminated by the laser are captured by CCD camera. This instantly records the particle number concentration at each position. Because the position is directly related to the particle size (or mobility), the particle size spectra is derived from the images recorded by the CCD.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH
This invention was made with government support under contract number DE-AC02-98CH10886 with the U.S. Department of Energy, and under Grant No. SC0006312 from the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.