Simultaneous Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) extinction spectra and aerosol size distributions have been measured for some components of mineral dust aerosol including feldspars (albite, oligoclase) and diatomaceous earth, as well as more complex authentic dust samples that include Iowa loess and Saharan sand. Spectral simulations for single-component samples, derived from Rayleigh-theory models for characteristic particle shapes, better reproduce the experimental spectra including the peak position and band shape compared to Mie theory. The mineralogy of the authentic dust samples was inferred using analysis of FTIR spectra. This approach allows for analysis of the mineralogy of complex multicomponent dust samples. Extinction spectra for the authentic dust samples were simulated from the derived sample mineralogy using published optical constant data for the individual mineral constituents and assuming an external mixture. Nonspherical particle shape effects were also included in the simulations and were shown to have a significant effect on the results. The results show that the position of the peak and the shape of the band of the IR characteristic features in the 800 to 1400 cm−1 spectral range are not well simulated by Mie theory. The resonance peaks are consistently shifted by more than +40 cm−1 relative to the experimental spectrum in the Mie simulation. Rayleigh model solutions for different particle shapes better predict the peak position and band shape of experimental spectra, even though the Rayleigh condition may not be strictly obeyed in these experiments.
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