Apr 032011
 

A new air-quality measuring instrument invented by Pat Arnott and Ian Arnold of the University of Nevada, Reno that is more economical, more portable and more accurate than older technologies has been licensed for commercial development by Droplet Measurement Technologies of Boulder, Colo.

Arnott, a physics professor in the University’s College of Science, had perhaps lugged his heavy pieces of equipment one too many times through airports to faraway places to examine airborne particles. Now, his and Arnold’s latest invention has reduced the laser-equipped air-monitoring equipment to suitcase size, while enhancing its measurement capabilities.

This latest, compact version of the photoacoustic particle measuring machine with its lasers, mirrors, flexible tubes, wires and relays is also cheaper and faster and should be an attractive alternative for users.

“This machine will be much more ubiquitous for measuring air quality, or more precisely, black carbon in the air, or a number of other uses,” Arnott said. “Key component cost and instrument weight have dropped from $2,000 and 180 pounds to $40 and 20 pounds. This will make it more accessible to researchers, businesses and government agencies; and much easier when traveling around the world to gather data.”

Over the past 12 years, Arnott, along with collaborators from the Desert Research Institute, have mapped air pollution on Los Angeles freeways, as well as in Mexico City, the rain forests of Brazil, Vancouver, B.C., and Big Bend National Park, to name a few locations. They have also worked 1,600 feet underground in an active Nevada gold mine to monitor air quality.

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