Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis for Online Measurement of Inorganic Aerosols

EPA Contract Number: EPD04012
Title: Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis for Online Measurement of Inorganic Aerosols
Investigators: Hering, Susanne
Small Business: Aerosol Dynamics Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2004 through August 31, 2004
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified the need for continuous monitors that can operate unattended and provide real-time data on the concentration of the major chemical components of PM2.5, defined as particles with diameters of less than 2.5 µm. The chemical composition of fine airborne particles is needed to identify sources, understand formation mechanisms, and further elucidate exposures and health effects. Aerosol Dynamics, Inc., proposes a compact, inexpensive, and sensitive instrument using capillary electrophoresis (CE) mounted on a microchip. Ambient particles are deposited directly on the CE chip by means of humidification, growth, and impaction.

Ambient particles are extracted directly in a small aqueous volume for the in situ CE analyses of particle-bound inorganic ions. Both cations and anions will be determined. This "laboratory on a chip" technique will provide online, time-resolved quantification of a suite of PM2.5 inorganic ions found in ambient aerosol. This approach will provide a 5-minute time resolution for ions with detection limits of 10 ng/m3 or better. Commercial applications include monitoring in homes, schools, and offices in addition to central monitoring sites. The CE technique is inherently far more cost-effective than current approaches.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, microchip, capillary electrophoresis, CE, inorganic aerosol, continuous monitoring, PM2.5, ions, cations, anions, laboratory on a chip, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, RESEARCH, particulate matter, Air Quality, Environmental Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Analytical Chemistry, Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring, Atmospheric Sciences, State of Matter, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, ambient aerosol, particle size, atmospheric measurements, chemical characteristics, human health effects, air quality models, monitoring stations, emissions measurement, modeling, gas chromatography, air sampling, air quality model, microchip capillary electrophoresis, human exposure, atmospheric aerosols, particulate matter mass, PM2.5, continuous emissions monitoring, aerosol, modeling studies, capillary electrophoresis, air quality field measurements, aerosol analyzers, atmospheric chemistry, chemical speciation sampling

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis for Online Measurement of Inorganic Aerosols  | Final Report