Exploring the limits of detection for single nanoscale aerosol particles by light scattering, absorption, and luminescence 

Theme: Measurement techniques
Start Date: Cohort 1: 2019
Supervisors: Prof Jonathan Reid (Bristol) and Prof Andrew Orr-Ewing (Bristol)
Abstract:
Understanding the optical properties of luminescent nanoparticles is of tremendous significance in disciplines like atmospheric science, nano sensing, imaging, and photonic devices. Conventional characterization of these nanoparticles is mostly performed as an ensemble, from which the detection could be hindered by extra uncertainties introduced by measuring number density of nanoparticles or through the interactions between the nanoparticles and the environments surrounding them. Trapping a single aerosol particle allows detailed investigation of its fundamental properties over extended time periods without external interferences, which has not been widely applied to the investigation of newly emerged luminescent nanoparticles. This project will employ single particle trapping techniques to specifically constrain one nanoparticle in air to avoid any interference from other particles or the environment and utilize an integrated characterization system to comprehensively explore the limits of detection by light scattering, absorption and luminescence of nanoparticles in accumulation mode. These measurements could bring about more detailed and accurate photophysical properties of luminescent nanoparticles and provide basic knowledge needed for modelling community and further novel applications.