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Conference paper2010Peer reviewedOpen access

A cost-effective method for monitoring airborne particulate matter using tabletop SEM-EDS

Wilkinson, Kai; Lundkvist, Johanna; Seisenbaeva, Gulaim; Kessler, Vadim


Inhalable airborne Particulate Matter (PM) has been linked to adverse effects in the airways and cardiovascular system in humans leading indirectly to hospitalization and possibly premature death. The need to monitor these on a local level has recently been realized with the emergence of low cost tabletop Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) with high magnification possibilities offering a quick and easy way of analyzing PM down to 300 nanometres in size. The ease of use of these instruments makes them suitable for an untrained person to routinely monitor elemental constituents of individual particles and possibly linking them to inherent health risks. In this study particles from outdoor air were collected onto Polyamide filters and analyzed using tabletop SEM utilizing Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) to determine and identify their chemical composition. 341 particles were successfully characterized and classified in relation to their chemical identity and origin. The regional differences in the samples could be related to the location of sample collection proving that tabletop SEMs offers a possibility of air quality monitoring in relation to the particle impurities.

Published in

Wit Transactions On Ecology And The Environment
2010, Volume: 136, pages: 407-418 Title: Air pollution XVIII
ISBN: 978-1-84564-450-5


18th International Conference on Modelling, Monitoring and Management of Air Pollution