A self-calibrating electrometer for atmospheric charge measurements from a balloon platform
Nicoll, K. (2013) A self-calibrating electrometer for atmospheric charge measurements from a balloon platform. Review of Scientific Instruments, 84 (9). 096107. ISSN 1089-7623
To link to this article DOI: 10.1063/1.4821500
Charged aerosol particles and water droplets are abundant throughout the lower atmosphere, and may influence interactions between small cloud droplets. This note describes a small, disposable sensor for the measurement of charge in non-thunderstorm cloud, which is an improvement of an earlier sensor [K. A. Nicoll and R. G. Harrison, Rev. Sci. Instrum. 80, 014501 (2009)]. The sensor utilizes a self-calibrating current measurement method. It is designed for use on a free balloon platform alongside a standard meteorological radiosonde, measuring currents from 2 fA to 15 pA and is stable to within 5 fA over a temperature range of 5 °C to −60 °C. During a balloon flight with the charge sensor through a stratocumulus cloud, charge layers up to 40 pC m−3 were detected on the cloud edges.