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Development Of A Supercontinuum Based Photoacoustic Aerosol Light Absorption And Albedo Spectrometer (PALAAS)
AuthorArnold, Ian J.
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Aerosols are a major contributor to the global radiation budget because they modify the planetary albedo with their optical properties. These optical properties need to be measured and understood, ideally at multiple wavelengths. This thesis describes the ongoing development of a supercontinuum based multi-wavelength photoacoustic instrument to measure the light absorption and scattering coefficients of aerosols. Collimation techniques for supercontinuum sources using lens-based and off-axis parabolic mirror-based collimators were evaluated and it was determined that the off-axis mirror had superior collimation abilities for multi-spectral beams. A proof of concept supercontinuum-based photoacoustic instrument was developed using sequential measurements at multiple wavelengths. The instrument data were in good agreement with those from a commercial 3-wavelength photoacoustic instrument and the novel instrument had minimum detectable absorption and scattering coefficients of better than 4 Mm-1 and 21 Mm-1, respectively. The instrument however suffered from poor temporal resolution due to the sequential measurement and required the development of an aerosol delivery system to deliver a slowly varying aerosol concentration. In response, a spectral modulator has been developed to frequency encode different wavelength bands for simultaneous measurement with a photoacoustic instrument.