2000 Progress Report: Characterization of the Chemical Composition of Atmospheric Ultrafine Particles

EPA Grant Number: R827354C001
Subproject: this is subproject number 001 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R827354
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Airborne PM - Rochester PM Center
Center Director: Oberd√∂rster, G√ľnter
Title: Characterization of the Chemical Composition of Atmospheric Ultrafine Particles
Investigators: Cass, Glen , Prather, Kimberly A.
Current Investigators: Cass, Glen , Dillner, Ann , Hopke, Philip K. , Prather, Kimberly A.
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology , University of California - Riverside
Current Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology , Arizona State University - Main Campus , Clarkson University , University of California - Riverside
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2005 (Extended to May 31, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 2000 through May 31, 2001
RFA: Airborne Particulate Matter (PM) Centers (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air


Research on the characterization of urban ultrafine and accumulation mode particles will allow compositional analysis in real time of single particles. The objective of this research project is to greatly expand the understanding of the chemical composition of ultrafine particles, both in the atmosphere and in source emissions.

Progress Summary:

The first 2 years of this research have been productive and have laid the groundwork for progress to be made in the coming year. Dr. Prather's group is developing an aerosol time of flight mass spectrometry instrument to measure the chemical composition of single atmospheric particles smaller than 100 nm in particle diameter. Dr. Cass's group has collected ultrafine particle samples in a field experiment in a south central U.S. city (Houston, TX) and has begun to automate equipment that measures ultrafine aerosol size distributions. Additionally, Dr. Cass participated in The Royal Society's Discussion Meeting entitled "Ultrafine Particles in the Atmosphere," on March 15-16, 2000, which resulted in the published journal article listed below.

During August and September 2000, seven sets of 24-hour ambient samples were collected using cascade impactors at two sites in Houston, TX. Analysis of the impactor substrates is underway to determine the chemical composition of the fine (0.1 – 1.8 µm) and ultrafine (0.056 – 0.1 µm) particles. Previous analyses made during the first year of the project showed that ultrafine particle concentrations obtained at seven sites in Southern California averaged 0.55 – 1.16 g/m3 and consisted of 50 percent organic compounds, 14 percent metal oxides, 8.7 percent elemental carbon, 8.2 percent sulfate, 6.8 percent nitrate, and traces of ammonium, sodium, and chloride. The Houston chemical characterization will be compared with this chemical characterization of Southern California ultrafine particles. The results should assist researchers of the controlled clinical, animal, and in vitro studies of the PM Center (Cores 3, 4, and 5) in the design of realistic exposure studies involving ultrafine particles.

A nano-differential mobility analyzer (nano-DMA) and an ultrafine condensation particle counter (UCPC) have been configured to obtain particle concentration as a function of size for particle diameters between 0.003 and 0.150 m. The nano-DMA and the UCPC are being automated for use in field studies to obtain ambient size distributions over the same particle size range. A nano-micro orifice uniform deposit impactor (nano-MOUDI) has been purchased and will be used in conjunction with a standard MOUDI to obtain mass and chemical speciation of ultrafine particles in four size bins below 0.1 m (0.01–0.018 µm, 0.018–0.032 µm, 0.032–0.056 µm, and 0.056–0.10 µm).

An ultrafine particle aerosol time of flight mass spectrometry instrument has been constructed. Laboratory experiments are underway to characterize the transmission efficiency of ultrafine particles. Further studies will be undertaken to assess the chemical characterization capabilities of the instrument.

Future Activities:

This spring, experiments will be undertaken in the Los Angeles area using the nano-MOUDI and ultrafine size distribution instrumentation along side the ultrafine particle aerosol time of flight mass spectrometry instrument. Comparison of bulk and single particle chemical composition data for this western U.S. city will further enhance our understanding of the ambient ultrafine particles.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 30 publications 30 publications in selected types All 29 journal articles
Other center views: All 104 publications 98 publications in selected types All 90 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Cass GR, Hughes LA, Bhave P, Kleeman MJ, Allen JO, Salmon LG. The chemical composition of atmospheric ultrafine particles. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A-Mathematical Physical & Engineering Sciences 2000;358(1775):2581-2592. R827354 (2004)
R827354 (Final)
R827354C001 (1999)
R827354C001 (2000)
R827354C001 (Final)
R832415 (2010)
R832415 (2011)
R832415 (Final)
  • Abstract: Royal Society Publishing-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    pollution prevention, atmosphere, particulates, metals, sensitive population., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, particulate matter, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Epidemiology, State, Risk Assessments, Biochemistry, ambient air quality, particle size, particulates, sensitive populations, cardiopulmonary responses, fine particles, human health effects, morbidity, ambient air monitoring, chemical characteristics, pulmonary disease, susceptible populations, epidemelogy, environmental health effects, particle exposure, nano differential mobility analyzer, human exposure, particulate exposure, chemical kinetics, Texas (TX), PM, mortality, urban environment, aerosols, ultrafine particles, chemical speciation sampling

    Relevant Websites:

    http://www2.envmed.rochester.edu/envmed/pmc/indexpmc.html Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R827354    Airborne PM - Rochester PM Center

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R827354C001 Characterization of the Chemical Composition of Atmospheric Ultrafine Particles
    R827354C002 Inflammatory Responses and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Susceptible Populations
    R827354C003 Clinical Studies of Ultrafine Particle Exposure in Susceptible Human Subjects
    R827354C004 Animal Models: Dosimetry, and Pulmonary and Cardiovascular Events
    R827354C005 Ultrafine Particle Cell Interactions: Molecular Mechanisms Leading to Altered Gene Expression
    R827354C006 Development of an Electrodynamic Quadrupole Aerosol Concentrator
    R827354C007 Kinetics of Clearance and Relocation of Insoluble Ultrafine Iridium Particles From the Rat Lung Epithelium to Extrapulmonary Organs and Tissues (Pilot Project)
    R827354C008 Ultrafine Oil Aerosol Generation for Inhalation Studies