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Detlef Mueller

Dr Detlef Mueller

Dr Detlef Mueller

Research Fellow

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Raman spectroscopy for inferring chemical signatures in particle pollution

Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards

Organisation: University of Hertfordshire

Dates: Mar 2013-Feb 2018

Value: £67,000

Summary: My project is related to assessing the impact of man-made pollution on climate change. I use innovative instruments technology called LIght Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) to identify pollution in the air. It can be used to describe pollution properties that impact temperature rise on Earth. This technology requires state-of-the-art lasers, electronics and optics in order to make it an efficient research tool. Only few countries in the world are able to support this innovative technology, including the UK. An estimated 300-500 senior researcher work on this next generation of atmospheric observation instruments. Ground-breaking instrument innovations and discoveries with lidar were achieved since the early 1990s when sophisticated lasers became commercially available. We are now able to measure not only pollution in the air but also temperature, air pressure, wind, and gases, as for example harmful ozone. All these parameters are needed in order to learn about climate change which affects the environment, economy, humans, and society. It is estimated that the death of one quarter of all humans world-wide is related directly or indirectly to the effect of air pollution. No matter how far away we live from the actual sources of air pollution emissions, we cannot escape from this pollution. For example, air pollution emitted in East Asia arrives over West Europe after a few weeks. My project aims at the next step in lidar technology development which is about measuring chemical components in air pollution on a vertically resolved scale. Such data do not only tell us if harmful pollution is present close to the ground but also which kind of pollution is carried around the globe high above the ground and over large distances. Knowledge of the chemical composition of air pollution can help us better understand the potential risks of polluted air to humans and ecology and could therefore support policy making that aims at protecting our environment.

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