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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 3, issue 5
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 3, 1473–1485, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 3, 1473–1485, 2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  20 Oct 2010

20 Oct 2010

Quantitative sampling and analysis of trace elements in atmospheric aerosols: impactor characterization and Synchrotron-XRF mass calibration

A. Richard1, N. Bukowiecki1, P. Lienemann2, M. Furger1, M. Fierz3, M. C. Minguillón4, B. Weideli2, R. Figi5, U. Flechsig6, K. Appel7, A. S. H. Prévôt1, and U. Baltensperger1 A. Richard et al.
  • 1Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Switzerland
  • 2School of Life Sciences and Facility Management, Wädenswil, Switzerland
  • 3University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, Windisch, Switzerland
  • 4Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), CSIC, Barcelona, Spain
  • 5Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research, Dübendorf, Switzerland
  • 6Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, Switzerland
  • 7Hamburger Synchrotronstrahlungslabor at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, a Research Centre of the Helmholtz Association, Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. Identification of trace elements in ambient air can add substantial information to pollution source apportionment studies, although they do not contribute significantly to emissions in terms of mass. A method for quantitative size and time-resolved trace element evaluation in ambient aerosols with a rotating drum impactor and synchrotron radiation based X-ray fluorescence is presented. The impactor collection efficiency curves and size segregation characteristics were investigated in an experiment with oil and salt particles. Cutoff diameters were determined through the ratio of size distributions measured with two particle sizers. Furthermore, an external calibration technique to empirically link fluorescence intensities to ambient concentrations was developed. Solutions of elemental standards were applied with an ink-jet printer on thin films and area concentrations were subsequently evaluated with external wet chemical methods. These customized and reusable reference standards enable quantification of different data sets analyzed under varying experimental conditions.

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