Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis for Online Measurement of Inorganic Aerosols

EPA Contract Number: EPD05058
Title: Microchip Capillary Electrophoresis for Online Measurement of Inorganic Aerosols
Investigators: Hering, Susanne
Small Business: Aerosol Dynamics Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: April 4, 2005 through June 30, 2006
Project Amount: $219,136
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2005) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , SBIR - Air Pollution , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


A compact and affordable microchip-based system for the automated, in situ analysis of inorganic ions in atmospheric aerosols will be develop and verified against traditional, filter-based methods. Aerosol Dynamics, Inc., will combine two new technologies: (1) a growth tube impactor for particle collection, and (2) lab-on-a-chip (LOC) analysis of sulfates and nitrates.

The growth tube impactor enlarges individual airborne particles by water condensation in a laminar, thermally diffusive flow. Once encapsulated within a water droplet, particles with a diameter of 0.015 µM or larger are deposited directly onto a small reservoir on the LOC. The LOC utilizes capillary electrophoresis with embedded conductivity detection. Separation of sulfates and nitrates is achieved in less than 2 minutes, with detection limits of 1 µM.

The instrument will provide 5-minute time resolution for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) sulfate and nitrate, with detection limits of 100 ng/m3 or better. The analyzer will be both quiet and compact. The pressure drop required for sampling is just 0.5 kPa, and thus pumping requirements are small. As such, it will be suitable for microenvironmental sampling in offices, homes, schools, and air monitoring stations. By providing a low-cost alternative to other continuous analyzers, widespread deployment will be encouraged.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, microchip capillary electrophoresis, inorganic aerosols, growth tube impactor, lab-on-a-chip, LOC, PM2.5, particulate matter, online measurement, 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, atmospheric measurements, ambient aerosol, inorganic aerosols, chemical characteristics, human health effects, air quality models, monitoring stations, emissions measurement, gas chromatography, air quality model, air sampling, modeling, microchip capillary electrophoresis, particulate matter mass, human exposure, atmospheric aerosols, continuous emissions monitoring, PM2.5, aerosol, modeling studies, air quality field measurements, capillary electrophoresis, aerosol analyzers, atmospheric chemistry, chemical speciation sampling

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

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