Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Finland Update

Taking a research laboratory into the field

Professor Murray Johnston and graduate students Ross Pennington and Bryan Bzdek spent 6 weeks in Hyytiälä, Finland this spring to study the formation of freshly nucleated nanoparticles in a boreal forest.  New particle formation is thought to contribute significantly to global climate, but the chemical processes associated with it are not well understood.  Johnston’s group is deploying their nano aerosol mass spectrometer (NAMS) to an air monitoring station in Hyytiälä to determine the composition of 10-25 nm diameter particles in ambient air.  The NAMS performs on-line elemental analysis of single particles in this size range — an exceptional feat since a single particle has a mass of less than 10 attograms (10-18 g)!  They analyze 2000-3000 particles on a typical day, making it difficult to find time for cross country skiing or the sauna. 

The pictures show the effort required to set up a chemistry laboratory in an instrument container in the middle of a forest covered by over a foot of snow.  The NAMS was shipped from Newark to the site in a large crate.  Other equipment and supplies from the Johnston lab were shipped in a second, smaller crate.  A fork lift positioned the large crate at a door to the container so that the NAMS could be rolled inside.  Ross and Bryan are relieved when the NAMS finally rests in its new home.  The instrument container houses several instruments from two universities.  The final picture shows NAMS in operation in the back of the container.

Click here for more information on the measurement site.

Best wishes,
The Johnston Group