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Characterizing particulate carbon using dielectric property measurements

  • Syk, Madeleine
  • Vollmer, Joakim
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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Interest in effects of carbonaceous particles in the atmosphere has recently taken an upswing due to knowledge of how these particles affect our environment. Carbonaceous aerosols are characterized by their dark color, giving them the ability to absorb both incoming and outgoing radiation of all wavelengths in the atmosphere. If these particles are deposited on snow or ice they blacken the surface, with an increased rate of melting as a consequence. These particles play a significant role in climate change and it is important to characterize the particles in order to determine their environmental impact and their origin. In this thesis, two non-destructive dielectric measurement approaches for characterizing carbonaceous particles at microwave frequencies were explored: measurements with an impedance analyzer and measurements using a cavity resonator. Measurements were carried out on quartz filters containing concentrations of carbon normally found in snow in northern Scandinavia. To validate the carbon concentration on the filters a field trip to northern Sweden was conducted. Snow samples were collected and analyzed in regards of carbon content, confirming that the amount of carbon on the filters were accurate. The impedance analyzer showed great uncertainty and the results were not precise enough to determine the credibility of the approach. Measurements with the cavity resonator showed some promising results due to its extreme sensitivity but require adjustments to distinguish different particle types from each other. Thus, it is expected that the use of a cavity resonator operating at microwave frequencies will become an applicable method for characterizing carbonaceous particles in the future.

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