Dual Wavelength Laser Photometry of Particulate Matter
Analysis of smoke particulate size in a contained air sample with a dual wavelength laser apparatus leads to better air quality sensors. I built and operated a dual laser system to analyze the scattering of light due to different sized particulates in an air sample. Measuring the difference in intensity of scattered light at two wavelengths allows me to calculate the size of particulates from different sources such as cigarettes, toilet paper, and cornstarch baby powder. Particulates smaller than 10 microns are extremely harmful to human lungs and can increase the risk of lung cancer. Further development of air quality sensors using dual laser systems to efficiently analyze particulates in air will improve the utility of smoke detectors and make air quality sensors more accurate.
This was a wonderful experience getting to develop, design, and execute my own project in which I could gather meaningful data. Typically, throughout my academic career, the experiments in labs were straight-forward and didn’t allow for any personal development of ideas, but this project let me develop and execute my own experiment. The biggest highlight of my Capstone project was the freedom that I was given to develop my own project that not only employs lessons I’ve learned from physics, but also gives me the confidence to conduct my own research. I currently work for a start-up company out of Petaluma that is using the same blue laser diode that I used in this experiment.