Photoinduced nucleation: A novel tool for detecting molecules in air at ultra-low concentrations

Joseph L. Katz, Heikki Lihavainen, Markus M. Rudek, Brian Salter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper describes the development of a novel detection method and the demonstration of its capability to detect substances at concentrations as small as a few parts per trillion. It is shown that photoinduced nucleation is not in itself a nucleation process; rather, supersaturated vapor condenses onto long-lasting clusters formed by chemical reaction of photo-excited molecules. The role of the supersaturated vapor is to increase the size of these photoproducts by condensation to a size readily detectable by light scattering. Furthermore, the measured nucleation rate variation with illumination wavelength exactly matches the substance's vapor-phase UV light absorption wavelength dependence, thus providing species identification. The ability to detect and identify molecules of substances at extremely low concentrations from ambient air is useful for detecting and monitoring pollutants, and for detecting explosives such as TNT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8363-8366
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Volume112
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2000

Fingerprint

low concentrations
Nucleation
Vapors
nucleation
Molecules
air
Air
Trinitrotoluene
vapors
molecules
Wavelength
trinitrotoluene
electromagnetic absorption
wavelengths
Ultraviolet radiation
Light scattering
contaminants
Chemical reactions
Condensation
chemical reactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this

Photoinduced nucleation : A novel tool for detecting molecules in air at ultra-low concentrations. / Katz, Joseph L.; Lihavainen, Heikki; Rudek, Markus M.; Salter, Brian.

In: Journal of Chemical Physics, Vol. 112, No. 19, 15.05.2000, p. 8363-8366.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Katz, Joseph L. ; Lihavainen, Heikki ; Rudek, Markus M. ; Salter, Brian. / Photoinduced nucleation : A novel tool for detecting molecules in air at ultra-low concentrations. In: Journal of Chemical Physics. 2000 ; Vol. 112, No. 19. pp. 8363-8366.
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