Detecting Metals in Ambient Particulate Matter: X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of High-Volume Impaction Deposits

EPA Contract Number: EPD04019
Title: Detecting Metals in Ambient Particulate Matter: X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of High-Volume Impaction Deposits
Investigators: Hope, Thomas J.
Small Business: Rupprecht & Patashnick Co, 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 goal of this Phase I research project is to develop a prototype instrument capable of performing specialized elemental speciation of ambient particulate matter (PM) in near real time (1-hour batch collection/analyses). The prototype monitor will incorporate high-volume impaction and x-ray fluorescence technology to accomplish the stated task.

Through previous research, Rupprecht & Patashnick Co., Inc. (R&P), has determined that both x-ray fluorescence speciation and high-volume PM impaction are feasible. This project will be a marriage of the two proven technologies. Preliminary research has proven the ability to successfully perform speciation analyses of ambient PM on the selected impaction substrate.

To keep costs reasonable, development work must be conducted to determine both the optimal x-ray analyses head geometric configuration and the most efficient sample concentration technique. Once optimization studies are complete, an "Alpha" prototype will be constructed. The Alpha will be capable of performing all functions necessary to prove the viability of concept and function. The Alpha prototype will be laboratory/field tested and knowledge gained during the Alpha testing will be used to determine “Beta” prototype specifications.

The Beta and production phases of the proposed instrument will most likely share common features with existing R&P instrumentation. The monitor's features likely will include Ethernet capability and a USB port for other communication links. Additional options could include compact flash memory, a global positioning module, and wireless communication. The final design will minimize the need for user training. The unit will be designed to be easily portable and consume as little power as possible. The low power demand should allow flexibility to operate the unit using an automobile cigarette lighter or car battery for rapid response to emergency situations.

The future of the proposed project is open. Economic, near real-time elemental PM speciation currently is not available. R&P envisions portable monitors that could be easily incorporated into large-scale ambient PM mapping and research programs. The monitor also could easily be employed as an industrial hygiene research tool or used to protect personnel from hazardous metals in PM.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, ambient particulate matter, PM2.5, x-ray fluorescence, high-volume impaction deposits, USB port, compact flash memory, Ethernet, real-time elemental PM speciation, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, RESEARCH, particulate matter, Air Quality, Environmental Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Analytical Chemistry, Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring, Atmospheric Sciences, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, particle size, atmospheric measurements, aerosol mass spectrometer, chemical characteristics, human health effects, aerosol particles, air quality models, monitoring stations, emissions measurement, gas chromatography, air quality model, air sampling, modeling, ambient emissions, particulate matter mass, particle sampler, human exposure, continuous emissions monitoring, microsensor, microdischarge technology, modeling studies, X-Ray flourescence, chrome, aerosol analyzers, atmospheric chemistry

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Detecting Metals in Ambient Particulate Matter: X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of High-Volume Impaction Deposits