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Aerosol Physics

  • 7.5 credits

Aerosol Physics dives into the world of physical properties and processes of airborne particles suspended in air, also known as aerosols.

Image of an aerosol particle sampled during the 2019 course
Image of an aerosol particle sampled during the 2019 course
Late application for the autumn term 2020 opens 15 July.


Aerosol Physics dives into the world of physical properties and processes of airborne particles suspended in air, also known as aerosols.

The major factor differing the aerosols from gases is that while all molecules of a specific substance have the same size and mass (if we neglect the small difference between isotopes), aerosol particles range in size from slightly less than one nanometre to some hundreds of micrometres in diameter.

Almost all properties of the aerosols and all way in which the particles interact with its surroundings change fundamentally with the particle sizes. This includes diffusion, condensation of gases on the particle, coagulation between colliding particles; or deposition on the planet surface, vegetation, lungs, as well as aerosol sampling tubes and inside aerosol instruments. It also includes the aerosols interaction with radiation and with clouds.

Aerosol physical properties and processes are of fundamental importance for understanding and solving problems such as

  • in and outdoor air quality
  • aerosol health effects
  • climate change
  • deposition of medications in the respiration system
  • air-filtering
  • aerosols measurements
  • and a multitude of industrial applications
  • Course structure

    Teaching format

    Besides general lectures, this course includes experimental demonstrations, theoretical and experimental exercises, a field excursion, and laboratory work, where the students use modern aerosol instrumentation on their own or in groups to solve a problem, followed by laboratory report-writing. The course therefore offers hands-on experience with common aerosol physical instruments complementing the lectures that covers a broader set of alternative experimental methods.

  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Aerosol technology - Properties, Behavior, and Measurement of Airborne Particles by William C. Hinds

    Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics by  Seinfeld and Pandis, second edition

  • Course reports

  • More information

    The course is compulsory in the Environmental Science branch of the Physics bachelor’s program, elective in the Environmental Science master’s program focusing on atmosphere, biogeosphere and climate, but may also be taken as an separate course.

    Course given in English unless all students speak Swedish.

  • Contact

    Study counsellors

    studeranu@aces.su.se

    Course coordinator

    Paul Zieger, Paul.Zieger@aces.su.se

    Department of Environmental Science, unit of Atmospheric Science