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Open Access Theoretical and Experimental Evaluation of a Portable Electrostatic TEM Sampler

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In this study, we present the design, calibration, and performance evaluation of a portable TEM sampler to collect ultrafine particles on TEM grids. The sampler is based on electrostatic deposition. We performed calibration experiments with monodisperse model particles of different size, morphology, and chemistry to evaluate the efficiency of the device. Additionally, we modeled the performance of the TEM sampler using finite element calculations to calculate the sampling efficiency as function of particle size. We find a good agreement between the model calculations and calibration experiments, but with a systematic deviation of about 30%. We present further experiments with polydisperse particles and derive particle size distributions and absolute number concentrations from TEM images. The shape of the size distribution is very similar to the corresponding SMPS measurements, while the total number concentration has a larger uncertainty. Thanks to the compact design of the sampler, it can be used to collect ultrafine particles even in remote or hostile environments, where no electric power is available.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Applied Sciences, Northwestern Switzerland, Windisch, Switzerland 2: Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (Eawag), Dübendorf, Switzerland,Swiss Federal Institute for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Dübendorf, Switzerland

Publication date: 2007-05-01

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