Optical Monitor for Noninvasive, Chemical- and Size-Differentiated Characterization of Airborne Aerosols

EPA Contract Number: 68D01008
Title: Optical Monitor for Noninvasive, Chemical- and Size-Differentiated Characterization of Airborne Aerosols
Investigators: Lord III, Harry C.
Small Business: Air Instruments and Measurements Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: April 1, 2001 through September 1, 2001
Project Amount: $69,783
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , SBIR - Monitoring , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Atmospheric aerosol plays an important role in climate and climate change, reduced visibility in urban areas, heterogeneous atmospheric reactions, and acid rain production. Fine aerosol from combustion sources is believed to be an important risk factor for cardiopulmonary disease and mortality. The Phase I objective is to examine the feasibility of producing an inexpensive, compact, robust laser-based system for continuous monitoring of anthropogenic aerosol emissions. Air Instruments & Measurements, Inc.'s proposed automated technique is expected to yield particulate matter (PM) mass concentrations, as well as bulk size and chemical properties, in real time. This novel optical approach to PM continuous monitoring uses diode laser sources in combination with solid-state, dispersive spectrometers and fiberoptics. The Phase I project includes design and assembly of a prototype instrument, laboratory optimization studies, and performance evaluation. Synthetic aerosol mixtures will be generated in the laboratory and analyzed. Based on these experiments, the feasibility of the proposed technique will be evaluated in terms of observed detection limits and the instrument's ability to differentiate between various bulk aerosol sizes and chemical compositions.

Currently, no analogous technology is commercially available, nor has it been described in the open literature. The proposed optical PM analyzer will have the flexibility to be used in an in situ (i.e., across-stack) configuration for stationary source monitoring and in a remote sensing configuration for noninvasive sensing of vehicle exhaust emissions and open path monitoring. Consequently, numerous commercial opportunities for this technology exist in a wide range of industries.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, aerosols, monitoring, particulate matter, PM, engineering, chemistry, EPA, climate change., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, exploratory air engineering, particulate matter, air toxics, Chemistry, climate change, Monitoring/Modeling, exploratory air chemistry and physics, Atmospheric Sciences, Incineration/Combustion, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, atmospheric, environmental monitoring, aerosol formation, ambient aerosol, environmental measurement, combustion sources, climatic influence, ambient monitoring, atmospheric aerosols, airborne aerosols, continuous emissions monitoring, aerosol, aerosols, air quality, ambient air pollution

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final