National Physical Laboratory

Nanoparticle monitoring for ambient air, occupational exposure and other applications

Nanoparticle monitoring 

The proliferation of nanotechnology and the drive towards improving air quality for environmental and health reasons has resulted in heightened awareness of nanoparticles. Although nanoparticles are naturally present in air, there is a shift in the air quality community to consider them explicitly when evaluating air quality.

Traditional particulate measurement technology, generally based on measuring the mass concentration of the PM10 or PM2.5 fractions of air using methods such as filter weighing or TEOM measurements are heavily weighted towards the larger particles, meaning that nanoparticles are poorly represented. For example, a single 10 micrometer particle has the same mass as a million 100 nanometer particles!

Therefore, different measurements need to be deployed that specifically focus on nanoparticles. The technology used allows the nanoparticle number concentration, size distribution and other quantities to be measured in situ in real time, providing a rapid means to monitor and analyse air quality in a range of situations relevant to many industries.

NPL’s capabilities build on experience gained through over 30 years of environmental monitoring, our world-class airborne nanoparticle metrology laboratory  (LINK) and our ongoing support of the UK's air quality networks. NPL can provide design, set up and run any size of measurement campaign using the full range of techniques at our disposal, which are described on our field measurements page.


Customer Services tel: +44 20 8943 8637

Last Updated: 25 Mar 2010
Created: 18 Jan 2010


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