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Adaptation of Raman Spectroscopy Instrumentation for the Detection of Atmospheric Aerosols

Atmospheric aerosols have a major effect on Earth systems and human health. From allergenic pollen to particles critical for cloud formation, it is important to have instrumentation that is able to collect and analyze aerosols. Instrumentation that uses Raman spectroscopy are valuable tools to help differentiate between aerosols and their compositions. The Huffman Lab hosts the REBS, an instrument originally designed to collect and identify, using Raman spectroscopy, agents of biological warfare for the United States military. In order to use the REBS for a wider range of aerosol identification, I adapted the collection method, the size calibration, and the code used for data analysis. Using newly adapted procedures and code, I obtained spectra of multiple mineral dusts, carbohydrates, soot, and polystyrene latex beads. Modifying and crafting detailed procedures for this highly specific instrument will allow the Huffman lab to advance impactful research, such as understanding how air pollution can affect those with pollen allergies.