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Miniature diffusion size classifiers (miniDiSC) are novel handheld devices to measure ultrafine particles (UFP). UFP have been linked to the development of cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases; thus, detection and quantification of these particles are important for evaluating their
potential health hazards. As part of the UFP exposure assessments of highway maintenance workers in western Switzerland, we compared a miniDiSC with a portable condensation particle counter (P-TRAK). In addition, we performed stationary measurements with a miniDiSC and a scanning mobility
particle sizer (SMPS) at a site immediately adjacent to a highway. Measurements with miniDiSC and P-TRAK correlated well (correlation of r = 0.84) but average particle numbers of the miniDiSC were 30%–60% higher. This difference was significantly increased for mean particle diameters
below 40 nm. The correlation between the miniDiSC and the SMPS during stationary measurements was very high (r = 0.98) although particle numbers from the miniDiSC were 30% lower. Differences between the three devices were attributed to the different cutoff diameters for detection.
Correction for this size dependent effect led to very similar results across all counters. We did not observe any significant influence of other particle characteristics. Our results suggest that the miniDiSC provides accurate particle number concentrations and geometric mean diameters at
traffic-influenced sites, making it a useful tool for personal exposure assessment in such settings. Copyright 2012 American Association for Aerosol Research