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We are experts in addressing measurement and calibration issues with black carbon instrumentation

The measurement of particles in air characterised as black carbon (BC) is important for its role in climate change and as a measure of combustion products associated with health effects.

Problems with defining and measuring black carbon 

Measurements of equivalent black carbon (eBC) are based on the light-absorbing optical method, using filter-based instruments, such as multi angle absorption photometers, aethalometers and particle absorption photometers.  However, this method is lacking robust calibration techniques and does not currently have SI traceability or standardisation. Using different measurement techniques (or models of the same instrument) might cause problems with interpretation and comparison of data.

How we can help

NPL has experience in leading collaborative projects to advance state of the art measurements for black carbon.

This work included developing and characterising a BC standard reference material as a near-black carbon source. NPL has a facility to generate uncoated and coated soot particles, which will be used to calibrate field BC monitors, including aethalometers that are installed at the UK Black Carbon Network sites. 

If you have challenges in measuring black carbon, we can provide well equipped laboratories and advice on measurement best practice as well as data processing and validation.

Contact us

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