Course description

Image of an aerosol particle sampled during the 2019 course

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.

Students of the 2019 Aerosol Physics course took own aerosol samples which were later analyzed using scanning electron microscopy

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

The Aerosol Physics course will make you familiar with the physical characteristics of aerosols and the physical processes that influence aerosols.

Students in the lab.

Some students on the Aerosol Physics course (and behind them one of the teachers) during a laboratory experiment wherein they produce sea salt aerosols with bubbles (in analog to how the ocean produce aerosol particles) and measures the aerosol number and size distribution with Condensation Particle Counters and Optical Particle Counters.

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.

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.


Schedule autumn 2019

Course Literature

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

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics by  Seinfeld and Pandis, second edition

Special eligibility requirements

15 ETCS in mathematics and 15 ECTS physics or chemistry.

Evaluations & reports

HT 2017
HT 2018

Course coordinator

Paul Zieger
Atmospheric Science

Phone +46 8 674 7634


Study counsellors

Environmental Science
Miljö- och hälsoskydd

Analytical Chemistry
Environmental Chemistry