Publication details.


Author(s):Joan Font-Muñoz, Idan Tuval, Raphaël Jeanneret, Gotzon Basterretxea
Title:Method for the determination of preferential orientation of marine particles from laser diffraction measurements.
JCR Impact Factor:3.894
Issue No.:9
In situ laser diffractometry (LD) is increasingly used in oceanographic studies to estimate sediment transport, particle fluxes and to assess the concentration of marine phytoplankton. It enables an accurate characterization of the size distribution of suspended particles from the scattering signal produced by their interaction with a collimated laser beam. LD reliably reflects the sizes of suspensions dominated by nearly spherical particles; however, when complex particle morphologies dominate the suspension (e.g. phytoplankton) the resulting particle size distribution (PSD) may present significant variations attending to different factors. In particular, the orientation of non-spherical particles - which abound in the sea – modifies LD measurements of PSDs. While this may be interpreted as a drawback for some studies (i.e. when precise measurement of the volume concentration is required), we propose that detailed analysis of this signal provides information on particle orientation. We use PDMS micropillars with prescribed elliptical cross-sections to experimentally determine the dependence between the spatial orientation of elongated particles and changes in the PSD measured with a LISST laser diffractometer. We show that LD can be used to adequately characterize the different dimensions of the non-spherical particles at specific orientations. Using this property, we describe and validate a method to infer the preferential orientation of particles in the sea. Our study opens new perspectives in the use of in-situ LD in ocean research.

Related staff

  • Idan Tuval Gefen
  • Gotzon Basterretxea Oyarzabal
  • Related departments

  • Marine Ecology
  • Related projects

  • SifoMED CTA 050