Characterization and Utilization of Instruments for Real Time Single Particle Analysis in Laboratory and Field Measurements

EPA Grant Number: U915566
Title: Characterization and Utilization of Instruments for Real Time Single Particle Analysis in Laboratory and Field Measurements
Investigators: Pastor, Sylvia H.
Institution: University of California - Riverside
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through June 1, 2002
Project Amount: $84,464
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry , Fellowship - Chemistry and Materials Science


The objective of this research project is to perform chemical analysis of ambient particulate matter on a single-particle basis. The research project involves the characterization and optimization of the single-particle technique and its use for the analysis of ambient aerosols sampled in field studies and particles generated by reactions in a laboratory reaction chamber.


The technique known as aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry will be used to analyze single particles in real time. The aerodynamic size of each particle and its positive and negative ion mass spectra will be obtained. The first part of the investigation will characterize and optimize the instrument. The size distribution detected needs to be scaled to show a representative size distribution of the sample. There are several adjustable parameters that will be examined to optimize the systems. Next, the analysis of data taken in the field will be carried out. The ability to transport the instruments allows for the direct, real-time analysis of particles in a variety of locations. Several field studies already have been conducted and more are scheduled for the near future. Another part of this investigation is the study of particles in a large laboratory reaction chamber. The reactants and conditions can be closely controlled and monitored.

Expected Results:

These model systems will assist researchers in their understanding and insight into the complex reactions that occur in our atmosphere. The results will provide transmission efficiency curves for the aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry instruments, allowing for the understanding and correction of instrument biases.

Supplemental Keywords:

air, ambient air, atmosphere, ozone, tropospheric, marine, mobile sources, particulates, environmental chemistry, analytical, measurement methods., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, particulate matter, Environmental Chemistry, Atmospheric Sciences, Chemistry and Materials Science, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, ambient aerosol, particulates, atmospheric particles, aerosol particles, field portable systems, aerodynamic sizer, aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ATOFMS), real-time spectroscopic method, field monitoring, particulate matter chemistry, analytical chemistry, atmospheric aerosols, aerosol composition, PM, aerosol, real time monitoring, aersol particles

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1999
  • 2000
  • Final