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Air quality and aerosol metrology

Novel characterisation of metals in particulates

Identifying pollution sources through traceable isotope ratio measurements of metals 

Heavy metals in airborne particulates are a serious health concern. Monitoring the levels of these metals in air and determining their sources allows for better control of toxic emissions and assessment of public exposure.

Due to the identifiable isotopic signature of many types of pollutants, isotope ratio measurements can be used for source apportionment studies of pollutants. We are using latest-generation ICP-MS instruments to expand our measurement capability for traceable isotope ratio measurements to understand the origin of metals in particulate matter. Knowledge about the source of such pollutants will help define improved removal or mitigation strategies and improve emissions inventories.

Measurement of vehicle non-exhaust particulate emissions

As vehicle exhaust emissions have reduced in recent years due to increasingly stringent regulations, non-exhaust emissions are now the dominant source of particulate emissions from road vehicles. Tyre wear, brake wear, road abrasion and road dust resuspension all contribute to non-exhaust emissions – these are currently unregulated and their effects on human health is unknown. 

We have a traceable ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry) facility to determine the metals content of non-exhaust emissions with defined uncertainty. We also provide underpinning traceability and quality assurance for measurements of particle number concentration and particle mass concentration of emissions from tyres and brakes. Confidence in these measurements is needed as these parameters from tyres and brakes will for the first time be regulated by the forthcoming Euro 7 standards.


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