Determining the cutoff diameter and counting efficiency of optical particle counters with an aerodynamic aerosol classifier and an inkjet aerosol generator

A method to determine the cutoff diameter and counting efficiency of single-particle optical particle counters (OPC) is presented. An aerodynamic aerosol classifier (AAC) coupled with an atomizer was used to generate monodisperse dioctyl phthalate particles with a condensation particle counter (CPC) as the reference instrument. This method is accurate for capturing the counting efficiency of OPCs at lower size ranges and determining the cutoff diameter. The CPC was found to be a poor reference instrument for particles larger than 1µm in which case an inkjet aerosol generator (IAG) was used as the monodisperse particle source and reference instrument. Two different particle materials were used with the IAG: lactose monohydrate and an ionic liquid (1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium trifluoromethanesulfonate). A combination of the AAC to size smaller particles (<1µm) and IAG to generate larger particles (>1µm) was found to provide a comprehensive method capable of covering the counting efficiency over the entire operating range of OPCs.

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