Hazardous airborne particles pose a risk for health and safety in a variety of environments; thus, detection of these small particles is essential. Current particle magnification systems are bulky and require a lot of power for operation, making them unsuitable to easily detect and analyze small particles in mobile and personal settings.

A space-saving, miniature (as small as 1 × 1 × 3”) instrument was developed for the direct sampling and analysis of small particles (diameter < 300-400 nm). The system can effectively sample air at a rate of a few liters per minute, and concentrate the particulate matter into microliter or milliliter liquid samples.

The novel system uses proton exchange membranes to grow small particles for optical detection using standard methods. Further, these methods allow the system to separate condensation and aerosol flow to enhance user mobility. The system uses inexpensive materials and requires low power for operation.

Applications include condensation particle detectors, particle size magnification systems, and microfluidic devices for sampling, detection, and growth of hazardous particles.

For more information, contact Karen Surabian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 301-594-9719.


Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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