Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Size-Selecting Aerosol Characterization Instrument

EPA Contract Number: EPD13042
Title: Size-Selecting Aerosol Characterization Instrument
Investigators: Croteau, Philip
Small Business: Aerodyne Research Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: July 29, 2013 through July 28, 2015
Project Amount: $300,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2013) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Air Pollution Monitoring and Control


Aerodyne Research, Inc., proposes to develop a new monitor that provides composition information of particles in the ultrafine (10-100 nm), fine (100 nm-2.5 µm) and coarse (2.5-10 µm) size modes in near real time. Particle monitoring technologies are important for better characterization of the environmental, health and visibility effects of both anthropogenic and biogenic aerosol particles. Current monitoring technologies either provide no chemical information or require extensive post-processing chemical analysis. Based in part on previous EPA SBIR support, Aerodyne Research, Inc. (Aerodyne), developed, field tested, and commercialized the Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM) to provide an affordable instrument to measure particle composition in near real time. As a sign of its relevance to the monitoring community, Aerodyne already has made 42 sales of the ACSM, totaling more than $6M in revenue. Here, Aerodyne proposes modifications of the ACSM that will upgrade its performance to provide size resolution in the ultrafine, fine and coarse modes and integrate an optical particle sizer to provide size resolution for the coarse mode. Based on the company’s deep knowledge of the aerosol monitoring community, Aerodyne is confident that these modifications will: (1) make the ACSM more responsive to EPA’s mission objectives; and (2) amplify instrument sales, both to new and existing customers. Crucially, Phase I yielded three important breakthroughs that make feasible the ACSM upgrade: (1) identified a design modification to the aerosol inlet that extends its range beyond 1,000 nm without sacrificing its ability to detect particles smaller than 100 nm; (2) implemented a new design to obtain particle size resolution while achieving at least 10-fold increase in sensitivity; and (3) demonstrated a new light scattering module that can determine particle size for particles larger than 1,000 nm. The Phase II commercialization option will be a long-term (6-12 month) field demonstration of the ACSM that will signal its utility to the aerosol characterization market as a robust and cost effective alternative to filter based measurements that lack time resolution and require substantial labor to implement.

Supplemental Keywords:

air pollution, particle monitoring, aerosol particles, aerodynamic lens, light scatter, particle dispersion lens, mass spectrometer

SBIR Phase I:

Size-Selection Aerosol Characterization Instrument  | Final Report