Detection of Fine Aerosols Using a Novel Aerosol Sampler

Period of Performance: 06/01/2009 - 11/30/2009

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Enertechnix, Inc.
23616 SE 225TH ST
Maple Valley, WA 98038
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The goal of the proposed research is to develop a personal exposure monitor for indoor and outdoor particulate matter in the ultrafine to 10 micron size range. The proposed device will collect large volumes of ambient air in the vicinity of the wearer's breathing zone and provide concentrated, size-classified samples for real-time analysis or for later analysis in a laboratory. This device will combine: (i) a novel aerosol concentrator to increase the particle concentration by up to three orders of magnitude, (ii) an aerodynamic size classifier to sort particles with sizes from 1 to 10 microns, and (iii) an electrostatic precipitator to capture and size classify particles smaller than 1 micron. The proposed monitor will provide the ability to couple the particle size classifier to a number of analytical assays (chemical or biological) that can be carried out in parallel. Combined with automated data recording and/or transmitting equipment and a GPS or other position-monitoring device, this monitor will be able to provide time- and space-resolved measurements of exposure to a wide range particulate matter. In the Phase I project-using advanced 3-dimensional, unsteady CFD methods-we will design a prototype of the aerodynamic particle size classifier, perform proof-of-concept experiments showing the feasibility of aerodynamic particle classification, and demonstrate nano-particle capture using an electrostatic precipitator. In Phase II we will combine the aerosol sampler/size classifier with a detection platform (possibly a microfluidic device) that can be used to carry out a variety of analyses on each size class in parallel. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: There is a growing awareness that exposure to complex environmental agents such as fine particulate matter can trigger or exacerbate diseases such as asthma and cardiovascular disease, however, there is still much uncertainty about the importance of specific chemical or physical factors and the causal relationship between disease and exposure. Standard aerosols collection and analysis methods cannot provide real time spatial and temporal resolution and often are often very labor intensive and non-specific. The proposed approach will overcome many of these difficulties by providing a very compact, light-weight, low-cost monitoring package that can be worn by an individual and, coupled to automated data recording and/or transmitting equipment and a GPS or other position-monitoring device, this personal exposure monitor will be able to provide time- and space-resolved measurements of a wide range of ambient aerosols.