Welcome to the Davies Lab
Who Are We?
We are a group of scientists exploring the behavior of aerosol particles using optical spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Our aim is to connect the molecular properties and processes of aerosol particles to their impacts on air quality, climate and human health, and in engineered applications.
What Are Aerosol?
The term aerosol has seen increasing use recently as scientists and the media discuss the possible airborne and person-to-person spread of viruses. In general, an aerosol is a suspension of particles in air. These particles can be small salt crystals, fractal soot agglomerates, pollen spores, liquid droplets etc. They are produced in many ways from countless different sources and are ubiquitous in both indoor and outdoor environments.
Aerosols may consist of an enormous range of particles types and compositions
Droplets emitted during coughing or sneezing can remain suspended for hours depending on their size
Aerosol and Disease
Recently, the emission of droplets and aerosol from humans has gained significant attention due to the role of sneezing and coughing in the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. During these actions, vast quantities of respiratory droplets are produced. Large droplets will typically settle out of the air within seconds due to their mass, but smaller droplets can remain suspended as an aerosol for extended periods of time. The ability for bacteria and viruses to survive in these aerosol varies with environmental conditions and the type of bio-organism.
Aerosol in the atmosphere are produced from natural and anthropocentric sources. They have an important role in regulating climate due to their ability to nucleate clouds and scatter and absorb solar radiation, yet are poorly constrained in global climate models. Aerosol are responsible for poor air quality in urban environments and particle pollution may pose significant risks to human health. Aerosol also have many beneficial uses, such as in delivering medication to the lungs and in many engineering processes, such as spray drying and fuel delivery.
Aerosol in the environment affect visibility, allow clouds to form, scatter light and reduce air quality
The life-cycle of aerosol in the atmosphere, from sources (direct or indirect, natural or anthropocentric), to transformations (chemical and physical) to their ultimate impacts in the environment (climate, air quality, health).