2 Minutes with Ruth Signorell
August 18, 2011
Given their pervasiveness and impacts on human life, understanding the formation and behaviour of molecular aerosols is vitally important in fields as diverse as climate research and medicine. Pioneering research by Ruth Signorell, of The University of British Columbia, is helping unlock these mysteries.
So my research group studies a special form of matter which is called an aerosol. Aerosol particles are tiny objects. These are particles or droplets that are suspended in air. They are so small that you can't really see them with your eyes. To give you an example, an aerosol particle is million times smaller than a grain of salt. In my research group, we study the properties of these aerosol particles. These particles can have different shapes, different sizes and different compositions. And we use laser light to unravel their properties. These aerosol properties they are important in our atmosphere. They form dust in our atmosphere. They form our clouds or in other words they influence our climate. And we can also use these aerosol particles for medical applications. We can form very tiny drugs with these aerosols which help us for more targeted drug delivery.
So the major problem in this field is the detection of the tiniest of these aerosol particles. We simply can't say how many of them we have in our atmosphere and our major goal is to provide our society with methods and instruments to detect this particle and to study their properties.