University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering


Peter H. McMurry

Kenneth T. Whitby Professor Emeritus

Lab: ME 251

Ph.D. 1977, M.S. 1973, Environmental Engineering Sciences, California Institute of Technology
B.A. 1969, Physics, University of Pennsylvania



Research interests include theoretical and experimental studies of aerosol systems and aerosol instrumentation. Current work focuses on atmospheric aerosols and synthesis of novel materials formed from deposited nanoparticles produced in thermal plasma reactors.

Atmospheric aerosol research includes instrumentation development, atmospheric observations, and studies of atmospheric aerosol processing. A recent highlight of our work is the discovery that large numbers of new particles are produced photochemically on about 20% of days in many locations. We are currently developing new experimental techniques to study chemical and physical mechanisms of particle nucleation and growth and are carrying out field campaigns at both urban and background continental sites. We have also developed real-time techniques to measure particle properties including refractive index, hygroscopicity, volatility, density and shape.

Our invention of aerodynamic lenses is another highlight. These devices enable particles to be concentrated into tightly collimated beams. Aerodynamic lenses are used to efficiently deliver particles into particle mass spectrometers where they can be analyzed chemically, or to substrates where they can accumulate to form nanophase deposits.


High Temperature and Plasma Laboratory

Atmospheric Aerosol Research