Application of Thermal Desorption GCMS (TD-GCMS) for the Analysis of Polar and Non-Polar Semi-Volatile and Particle-Phase Molecular Markers for Source Attribution

EPA Grant Number: R831088
Title: Application of Thermal Desorption GCMS (TD-GCMS) for the Analysis of Polar and Non-Polar Semi-Volatile and Particle-Phase Molecular Markers for Source Attribution
Investigators: Schauer, James J. , Sheesley, Rebecca J. , Simoneit, Bernd R.T.
Institution: University of Wisconsin Madison , Oregon State University
Current Institution: University of Wisconsin Madison
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006 (Extended to December 31, 2007)
Project Amount: $449,687
RFA: Measurement, Modeling, and Analysis Methods for Airborne Carbonaceous Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) (2003) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter


The overall objective of the proposed project is to fully develop, validate, and employ a cost-effective thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS) technique for the analysis of semi-volatile and particle-phase organic compounds in atmospheric and source samples. The TD-GC-MS method builds on existing expertise with TD-GC-MS for non-polar compounds at the UW-Madison by adding quantification of polar organic compounds, including key organic tracers. The project continues to expand on the molecular marker source apportionment methods pioneered by Schauer, Simoneit and the late Professor Cass.


The goal of the project will be realized using the following approach:

A) Standardize and validate the TD-GC-MS analyses of particulate matter samples that employ direct silylation derivatization compatible with both polar and non-polar compounds.

B) Configure a low cost particle-phase and semi-volatile organic compound sampling system that is compatible with TD-GC-MS analysis for molecular marker speciation, and can be used for high frequency, low sample volume sampling networks.

C) Employ the new TD-GC-MS analysis for the organic compound speciation of daily PM2.5 samples collected from ambient air quality sampling networks.

D) Collect and analyze by these TD-GC-MS techniques new sets of 4 hour semi-volatile and particle-phase organic compound samples at a network of sites during winter-time air pollution episodes that can support air quality models.

Expected Results:

These efforts will provide and demonstrate a new cost-effective strategy for the analysis of polar and non-polar particle-phase and semi-volatile organic compounds that are present in the atmosphere and source emissions. These tools will result in the broader application of the analysis of particle-phase and semi-volatile organic compounds for air quality studies, health studies, source characterization and regulatory monitoring and will ultimately enhance efforts to understand the sources of atmospheric fine particulate matter, health impacts, degradation of visibility and climate change, as well as aid regulatory efforts to mitigate these adverse effects.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 9 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

carbonaceous aerosols, air toxics, emissions, polar compounds., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, particulate matter, Air Quality, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, climate change, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, air quality modeling, health effects, carbon aerosols, atmospheric particulate matter, human health effects, PM 2.5, atmospheric particles, aerosol particles, mass spectrometry, analysis of organic particulate matter, air quality models, air modeling, emissions, thermal desorption, gas chromatography, air sampling, carbon particles, air quality model, human exposure, particulate matter mass, particle phase molecular markers, aersol particles, aerosol analyzers, exposure assessment, measurement methods

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • 2006 Progress Report
  • Final Report