To support NASA’s needs for environmental particulate matter monitoring, Applied Particle Technology is proposing the development of a multiwavelength optical speciation technology to measure airborne particulate matter size and concentration along with speciation data in a compact low power system. The basis for this technology is the development of an innovative multiwavelength ensemble measurement in combination with an optical particle counter to provide particle size distribution data and identification of aerosol material using optical speciation. Previous prototypes measured particle size distributions up to 10 micrometers, mass concentrations for PM2.5 and PM10, while identifying the particle material as light scattering or light absorbing. The focus of this Phase 1 work will be to mature this technology through broader capabilities of particulate matter speciation for smoke, lunar dust, and general dust, by improving multiwavelength sensor designs and integrating with a dynamic flow control system. Results from this work will enable a Phase II project for an integrated robust, miniaturized, low power instrument capable of speciating smoke, lunar dust, and general dust for microgravity, reduced gravity, and reduced pressure environments.
Environmental particulate matter monitoring with speciation capabilities is a highly sought after capability for applications on the International Space Station and other spacecraft atmospheres. Future missions to the Moon and Mars can benefit from this technology to help manage cleanliness levels and dust intrusion in airlocks and main cabin areas.
Potential non-NASA applications include environmental air quality and climate research, industrial air quality monitoring, smart city monitoring, mining, oil and gas, and manufacturing. Derivatives of this technology can be used to develop innovate sensing products for source apportionment and exposure monitoring.