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Dr. Don Collins
Don Collins
(979) 862-4401
(979) 862-4466
Eller O&M 1005B
Texas A&M University
O&M Building, Room 1204
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
MS 3150
College Station, Texas 77843-3150


Ph.D. Environmental Engineering Science, California Institute of Technology, 2000

B.S. Civil Engineering, Virginia Tech, 1994

Don Collins

Professor and Director of the Center for Atmospheric Chemistry and the Environment

Research Interests

My research focuses on the properties and effects of atmospheric aerosols. On a regional to global scale, the efforts of our research group are concentrated on investigating climate relevant properties of aerosols, while on a local to regional scale, similar analytical tools are used to improve our understanding of air pollution.  Most of our work is done in the lab and in the field with instruments that we design and build, with a current emphasis on the development and use of environmental chambers.

To study aerosol formation and processing under ambient conditions we developed field-deployable chambers in which gas phase composition and solar intensity mirror those just outside.  These Captive Aerosol Growth and Evolution (CAGE) chambers are roughly 1 cubic meter all-Teflon cylindrical enclosures into which generated and size-classified particles are injected.  Those captive particles are then repeatedly sampled over periods of several hours or even a day using various instruments.  Recent experiments have included measurement of nighttime aerosol production from nitrate radical chemistry and measurement of the rate at which atmospheric processing changes the structural and optical properties of soot particles and the fluorescence characteristics and viability of biological particles. 

To study aerosol formation in clouds resulting from aqueous phase reactions we developed the Multiphase Aging and Production of Particles (MAPP) chamber, which consists of a Teflon chamber similar in shape and size to the CAGE chambers that is suspended inside a pressure vessel. Cloud cycles are simulated by evacuating the chamber at a controlled rate that corresponds to a prescribed updraft velocity. The temperature of the air circulated around the chamber is controlled to match that expected inside due to adiabatic expansion. The cylindrical chamber rotates at several rpm to minimize settling loss of the cloud droplets. Monodisperse particles and precursor gases are injected prior to cloud formation and the aqueous phase aerosol production is quantified from the measured growth of the cloud processed particles.

Selected Publications

All publications: ResearcherID

All publications: Google Scholar

Selected publications:

Taylor, N. F., Collins, D. R., Lowenthal, D. H., McCubbin, I. B., Hallar, A. G., Samburova, V., Zielinska, B., Kumar, N., and Mazzoleni, L. R., 2017, “Hygroscopic growth of water soluble organic carbon isolated from atmospheric aerosol collected at U.S. national parks and Storm Peak Laboratory,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 16, pp 11163 - 11176.

Mahish, M. and Collins, D. R., 2017. “Analysis of a multi-year record of size-resolved hygroscopicity measurements from a rural site in the U.S.,” Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 17, pp 1389 – 1400.

Peng, J., Hu. M., Guo, S., Du, Z., Shang, D., Zheng, J., Zheng, J. Zeng, L., Shao, M., Wu, Y., Collins, D., and Zhang, R., 2017. “Ageing and hygroscopicity variation of black carbon particles in Beijing measured by a quasi-atmospheric aerosol evolution study (QUALITY) chamber,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 17, pp 10333 – 10348.

Peng, J., Hu, M., Guo, S., Du, Z., Zheng, J., Shang, D., Levy Zamora, M., Zeng, L., Shao, M., Wu, Y-S., Zheng, J., Wang, Y., Glen, C. R., Collins, D. R., Molina, M. J., Zhang, R., 2016, “Markedly enhanced absorption and direct radiative forcing of black carbon under polluted urban environments,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1602310113.

Taylor, N. F., Collins, D. R., Spencer, C. W., Lowenthal, D. W., Zielinska, B., Samburova, V., and Kumar, N., 2011. “Measurement of Ambient Aerosol Hydration State at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the Southeastern United States,” Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 11, pp 12085-12107.

Santarpia, J. L., Collins, D. R., Hegg, D. A., Kaku, K. C., Covert, D. S., Jonsson, H. H., and Buzorius, G., 2011. “Estimates of aqueous-phase sulfate production from tandem differential mobility analysis,” Atmospheric Environment, 45, pp 5484 – 5492.

Osborn, R. J., Taylor N. F., Spencer, C., and Collins, D. R., 2008. “Isolation of ambient particles of known critical supersaturation: The Differential Activation Separator (DAS),” Aerosol Science and Technology, 42, pp 759-772.

Tomlinson, J. M., Li, R., and Collins, D. R., 2007. “Physical and chemical properties of the aerosol within the southeastern Pacific marine boundary layer,” Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres, 112 art No. D12211.

Lee, Y. S., Collins, D. R., Li, R., Bowman, K. P., and Feingold, G., 2006. “Expected impact of an aged biomass burning aerosol on cloud condensation nuclei and cloud droplet concentrations,” Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmospheres, 111, art. No. D22204.


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