Relationship between Atomic Force Microscopy and Centrifugation Measurements for Dust Fractions Implicated in Solar Panel Soiling.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

This work tests the reliability of a simple, rapid centrifugal technique to estimate the removal force necessary to detach common airborne particles from the surface of a photovoltaic panel. Previously, we have used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to obtain the surface-particle adhesion force for different pollutant types that generally contribute to panel soiling. To overcome the limitations of AFM, the same particles were studied as a population using an ultracentrifuge. Detachment was quantified at speeds between 1000 and 10,000 rpm, both as individual particle counts and as projected surface area coverage. The force of centrifugal detachment for each particle type followed a similar trend as the adhesion force given by AFM. Organic and carbon-based materials needed higher centrifugal speeds to be removed, suggesting a stronger attachment to the surface. However, the technique also highlighted the importance of particle diameter, aggregates, and individual particle characteristics, which should be considered when predicting the probability of detachment. We have identified the relationship between AFM-derived adhesion and centrifugal detachment forces using model particle fractions of materials commonly found to soil solar panels, demonstrating the utility in using the more easily applied to centrifugal method to obtain information that can be calibrated to direct measurements of the force of particle attachment. This technique could be applied effectively in further studies on the influence of dust composition on long-term soiling and its reversibility.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Varga, HF; Wiesner, MR

Published Date

  • July 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 56 / 13

Start / End Page

  • 9604 - 9612

PubMed ID

  • 35700444

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1520-5851

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0013-936X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1021/acs.est.2c00164


  • eng