Optical properties of atmospheric aerosol using laser tweezers

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Megan McGrory

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Start Year

2017 (Cohort 4)

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PhD Project
PhD Title

Optical properties of atmospheric aerosol using laser tweezers

Research Theme

Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean Processes

Primary Supervisor
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Secondary Supervisor
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CASE Partner

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL)

CASE Supervisor

Dr Andrew David Ward


The aim of the project is to look at the way in which light interacting with atmospheric aerosols has an effect on modern climate change. To do this samples of atmospheric aerosols will be collected from various sources including oceanic, polar, forestry and urban, and extracted. Optical tweezers will be used to trap individual aerosols in order to collect information on the way they scatter light by looking at the Mie spectra produced experimentally. By comparing this spectra to a theoretical Mie spectra produced by a computer programme, it is then possible to calculate the aerosols radius and refractive index. Calulating this information allows for greater understanding on how specic types of aerosols interact with light. This information can then be applied to a radiative transfer model to calculate the contribution of the different atmospheric aerosols, to modern climate change.

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