Compact, Lightweight Counter for Atmospheric Cloud Condensation Nuclei and Condensation Nuclei

Case ID:

This technology details a lightweight integrated analysis instrument for dual use to directly sample, analyze, and count atmospheric cloud condensation nuclei and/or condensation nuclei. The instrument can be operated in dual modes:  as a Cloud Condensation Nucleus Counter (CCNC) and as a Condensation Nucleus Counter (CNC). An integrated prototype fits in a portable, lightweight bag, and directly draws in atmospheric samples into an analysis chamber to count either cloud condensation nuclei or condensation nuclei, depending on this setting is selected. Measurements are then displayed and recorded in real time.

The United Nations Committee on Climate Change has repeatedly said that clouds and aerosols are the biggest unknowns in the Greenhouse Warming estimates. Due to the potential low cost, this technology might enable the operation of thousands of aerosols monitoring stations rather than perhaps the few hundred that are currently available. Cloud condensation nuclei (CCNs) are atmospheric particles that absorb water in the presence of supersaturated water vapor and grow, or activate, to form cloud droplets or an ice particle. The CCN can be the size of about 0.1 micron up to 1 mm, or about 1/100 the size of a cloud droplet.
In addition to atmospheric clouds and aerosols, the invention can measure condensation nuclei (CNs), which are tiny aerosol particles (which may range in size from 1 Angstrom up to 0.1 micron). CNCs may be useful in the areas of indoor air monitoring, cleanrooms, and personal health monitoring.


  • Indoor air monitoring
  • Cleanrooms air monitoring
  • Personal health monitoring
  • Aerosols monitoring
  • Cloud monitoring


  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Low cost
  • Dual settings
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Jonathan Larson
Senior Licensing Manager, College of Science
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Donald Huffman