Industrial Liaison Office

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Chemical analysis of particulates

Particulates (termed PM10 if less than 10 microns in diameter) are fine particles capable of penetrating the respiratory system. The threat that they pose depends on their diameter and composition, both of which can vary widely from one location to another and are determined by the sources of origin.
Despite the importance of identifying the constituent elements of particulates, monitoring systems commonly used generally measure only particulate weights. The use of filters allows average of particulate sizes to be determined, but not their composition.

 

Elettra's contribution
A particulate monitoring method has been set up at Elettra to perform spectroscopic analysis by measuring the X-ray fluorescence of collected PM10 particles. This method provides the ability to quantify in real time, chemical elements with an atomic number greater than 12.
All metals from aluminium upwards can therefore be identified with this tool, and their concentrations in PM10 samples can be correlated with the various points of origin and with weather conditions at the time of collection.

 

Facility: Hard X-Ray Laboratory, XRD1 Beamline