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X-ray Vision for Aerosol Scientists: LCLS Snapshots of Soot

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Published on Jun 26, 2012

This short conceptual animation depicts how scientists can now simultaneously capture fractal morphology (structure), chemical composition and nanoscale imagery of individual aerosol particles in flight. These particles, known as "PM2.5" because they are smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, affect climate by interacting with sunlight and impact human health by entering the lungs.

The single LCLS laser pulses travel to the Atomic, Molecular and Optical Sciences (AMO) laboratory in the Near Experimental Hall. As we zoom in, we see deep inside a simplified aerosol inlet, where the complex fractal structure of the soot particles, each one completely unique, is shown. Individual soot particles are then delivered into the pulses of the LCLS beam, which destroys them.

X-rays are scattered to the detector before the particle is destroyed, giving information about the morphology of the particle. Ion fragments released in the explosion are sent into a mass spectrometer, which measures their mass-to-charge ratio -- giving scientists information about the chemical composition of the particle. Many different particles are analyzed in this manner, allowing scientists to probe variations in the particles due to changes in their environment before being sent through the aerosol inlet.

The final visual of aerosols emitted from a factory is representative of the goal that such LCLS aerosol dynamics experiments can provide critical feedback into modeling and understanding combustion, aerosol processes in manufacturing or aerosol effects on climate change.

Read SLAC News Release "X-ray Vision Exposes Aerosol Structures": https://news.slac.stanford.edu/press-...
Read more about the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS): http://lcls.slac.stanford.edu/WhatIsL...

Animation by Gregory Stewart, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Scientific Advisers: Michael Bogan & Duane Loh, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Music: "Candlepower" by Chris Zabriski, freemusicarchive.org

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