STTR Phase I: Miniaturization of the Continuous-Flow Streamwise Thermal-Gradient Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) Counter

Period of Performance: 01/01/2007 - 12/31/2007


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Droplet Measurement Technologies, Inc.
2545 Central Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

UCSD Scripps Inst
Center for Atmospheric Sciences
La Jolla, CA 92093
Institution POC


This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I research proposal addresses one of the largest uncertainties in understanding climate change. Measurements of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) aerosols are fundamental for providing the link between atmospheric aerosol properties and cloud microphysics. The continuous-flow streamwise thermal gradient technique has significantly improved the quality of CCN measurements. The main features of this instrument include: supersaturation that is a function of flow rate and temperature; continuous flow allows fast sampling; and simple cylindrical geometry reducing size and minimizing buoyancy effects. In this new design the operational limits have been identified and the overall size of the instrument reduced. The objective of this research proposal is to provide a miniature CCN counter, based on an operational prototype that will reduce weight, size and power consumption by a factor of ten. This company has commercialized the streamwise thermal-gradient CCN instrument that is the accepted standard and has been successfully deployed in dozens of international experiments. Future studies on aerosol/cloud/climate interactions require a major effort to provide adequate instrumentation to bridge the gap between aerosols and cloud properties to define limits for atmospheric models. A miniature commercial CCN instrument is essential for deployment in the next generation of research aircraft. This instrumentation development will be an important step forward in providing additional data for climate researchers.