The instrument that revolutionizes the field of atmospheric ice nucleating particle concentration measurement allowing researchers to perform unattended, fully automated campaigns and long-term monitoring down to -60°C.

                                                                                                               Developed in collaboration with:


PINE - Accurate Measurement of INP Concentration

Ice nucleating particles (INP) are the source for primary ice formation in clouds, hence their concentration has a critical impact on the temporal and spatial distribution of precipitation as well as a major impact on climate. PINE enables the accurate measurement of INP concentration, thus providing researchers and meteorologists with a unique and valuable insight on the temporal evolution of INP. Alternative technologies do not offer minimal user input automation or the sensitivity to the huge range of atmospheric INP concentrations over a broad temperature range at high time resolution and at conditions relevant for a range of clouds types. In addition, PINE provides information on the overall aerosol concentration.


  • Ice nucleating particle concentration measurement for atmospheric and climatic observation
  • Cloud physics research


PINE: the first instrument to automatically measure long-term series of INP concentrations at high sensitivity, time resolution and in a wide range of temperatures.

How it works

The core element of PINE is an air tight vessel, which can be cooled to a specified temperature. Air is drawn into the chamber through a valve at the top, and pulled through by a pump below.


The pressure within the chamber is then reduced, causing the temperature to drop and an adiabatic expansion to occur. The chamber is temperature controlled, allowing for measurements to be taken between 0 and −60°C. The frost point within the chamber is measured, and the humidity within is controlled to ensure that frost build up does not occur on the walls of the chamber.


Detection occurs by particles being drawn through an Optical Particle Counter (OPC) which records the particle count and aerodynamic particle diameter.

Operation modes

Immersion mode: this will form a cloud within the chamber, as liquid cloud droplets form on the aerosol. If the aerosol is an INP, the water droplet will nucleate and an ice crystal will form and grow to much larger sizes than water droplets.


Super saturation mode: will induce deposition freezing, water vapor will freeze directly onto aerosol particles as the temperature within the chamber decreases. These particles will again be distinct in size from the aerosol particles and hence detectable.


  • Expansion chamber principle, with possibility to operate down to -60°C.
  • Refrigeration system based on thermal conduction (no fluids).
  • Integrated control system.
  • Fully automated operations.
  • Plug and play instrument (connect only power).
  • Compact rack design.

Detailed specification

  • INP concentration range .................... 0.1 to 1000 INP/L
  • Sampling temperature........................ <35 °C
  • Wall temperature ............................... 0 to -60 °C
  • OPC particle detection range .............0.2 to 200 µm
  • Dimensions ....................................... 0.8 m * 0.6 m * 1.9 m
  • Weight .............................................. <200 kg
  • Power requirements ......................... < 3 kW Universal power supply


First mobile cloud chamber PINE delivered to Asia


After PINE has already been sold successfully to the USA and some countries in Europe, Bilfinger Noell has now delivered a PINE instrument to Asia (China) for the first time. Worldwide measurement campaigns can be followed in situ with the portable instrument for measuring INP concentrations on the website of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).




Bilfinger Noell presents Portable Ice Nucleation Experiment Instrument (PINE) at the 3rd Ice Nucleation Conference in Boston, USA


This important conference will provide a forum for discussion of all aspects of atmospheric ice nucleation and took place in Boston from 10th - 12th January 2020.


PINE enables the accurate measurement of ice nucleating particles (INP) concentration, thus providing researchers and meteorologists with a unique and valuable insight into the temporal evolution of INP.


The instrument aroused strong interest among the participants.


The innovative PINE instrument performed continuous and automated INP measurements at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) during the workshop days. Remote access demonstrated its extraordinary capabilities.



PINE collaboration partners (from left to right): Dr. Ben Murray and Michael Adams - University of Leeds, (UK); Michael Gehring - Bilfinger Noell, Franziska Vogel and Dr. Ottmar Möhler, KIT.

PINE - Portable Ice Nucleation Experiment Instrument


Formular PINE

Formular PINE
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