Numerical scattering simulations for estimating soot aggregate morphology from nephelometer scattering measurements

Anders Karlsson, Sandra Török, Adrian Roth, Per Erik Bengtsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nephelometers are regularly used for air quality monitoring through scattering measurements of aerosols in the atmosphere. Less attention has been paid to the potential of estimating soot morphological parameters from nephelometer measurements in combination with scattering theory. In this work, we perform a fundamental laboratory study where an Ecotech Aurora 3000 nephelometer is used for measuring the scattering properties of soot with different characteristics. The nephelometer monitors the forward and backward scattering at three wavelengths (450 nm, 525 nm, and 635 nm) to retrieve information on the ratio of forward and backward scattering intensities, as well as the scattering wavelength dependence. An inverse scattering method, based on the Rayleigh–Debye–Gans theory, for determination of the equivalent fractal dimension (Df) and radius of gyration (Rg) of soot particles from the experimental scattering data was developed. It is shown that the inverse method can estimate Rg and Df when Rg<185nm and from the wavelength dependence, information on the relative amount of organic soot could be obtained. For validation, estimated parameters are compared with the morphological parameters of soot sampled from the mini-CAST soot generator and evaluated using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Uncertainties and limitations of the procedure are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105828
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Atom and Molecular Physics and Optics

Free keywords

  • Fractal parameters
  • Inverse scattering
  • Nephelometer
  • Soot


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