Technology ID

Methods for near real-time aerosol chemical analysis for environmental and occupational monitoring

Lead Inventor
Kulkarni, Pramod (CDC)
Zervaki, Orthodoxia (CDC)
Occupational Safety and Health
Development Stages
Development Status
Early-stage In situ data available
Lead IC

­Exposures to hazardous airborne particles can pose a significant health risk to those routinely exposed in ambient air and industrial work environments. Measuring chemical composition and concentration of aerosol particles is important to preventing worker exposures and protecting health. Current, widely used methods to measure aerosol chemicals in the workplace involve particle collection on filters over several hours, followed by laboratory analysis which requires considerable time and resources, cannot capture transient exposures, and provide results several days after the exposure has occurred.

CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers have developed new methods to collect and analyze aerosol particles from an air sample. These direct-reading methods allow aerosol chemical analysis with high selectivity in near real-time in a portable or hand-held instrument. The methods allow collection of aerosols at high flow rates, 5-15 times higher than those in current commercial instruments, and involves concentration of the aerosol as a spot sample, followed by chemical analysis using laser spectroscopy techniques such as reflectance, Raman, absorption, fluorescence, and also through pulsed spark emission spectroscopy. The methods can be extended to detection of bioaerosols. The technology allows development of wearable, portable, or handheld instruments for continuous automated quantification of particulate chemical concentrations and bioaerosol analysis for environmental and occupational air quality monitoring applications.

Commercial Applications
  • Collecting and analyzing aerosol particles for the prevention and testing of hazardous exposures
  • Air pollution studies and particulate matter monitoring
  • Environmental and occupational personal exposure monitoring
  • Evaluation of engineering controls
  • Occupational safety and health
  • Monitoring/public health surveillance
Competitive Advantages
  • Near real-time and continuous automatic measurement of aerosol and bioaerosol
  • Tandem spectroscopy: allows simultaneous elemental (i.e., atomic emission spectroscopy) and molecular (e.g., Raman and near infrared spectroscopy) analysis of aerosol samples with high selectivity
  • High sample throughput collection
  • - Allows space-saving and miniature designs for easy integration into portable instruments
  • Eliminates the need for carrying heavy equipment in the field or waiting for laboratory analysis results
Licensing Contact:
Mitzelfelt, Jeremiah