Sullivan featured in Science Connection-Mechanical Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sullivan featured in Science Connection

MechE assistant professor Ryan Sullivan's work was featured in Science Connection, the Mellon College of Science's annual magazine.  The article, "Air Apparent," explains the work that the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS) researchers have been doing on the many particles in the air we breathe.

According to the article, particles, which could be anything from soot from truck exhaust, barbeque grease, or sea salt, are not molecules.  Instead, they are particles of "goop," primarily organic matter that accumulates and changes rapidly as it travels through the air.

Professor Sullivan is developing novel tools to study the particles, including a modified single particle mass spectrometer that can be fitted to an airplane to take precise measurements in real time.  Another tool is an optical tweezers particle trap, which uses a tightly focused laser to trap a single particle for experimentation. 

Once researchers know more about how particles change, they can determine their effects on health and the climate.