Nanoparticles and Occupational Health

Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 111-120

First online:

Use of an electrical aerosol detector (EAD) for nanoparticle size distribution measurement

  • Lin LiAffiliated withDepartment of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
  • , Da-Ren ChenAffiliated withDepartment of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
  • , Perng-Jy TsaiAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental and Occupational Health, Medical College, National Cheng Kung University Email author 

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Recently, Nanoparticle Surface Area Monitor (NSAM, TSI model 3550) and EAD (EAD, TSI Model 3070A) have been commercially available to measure the integral parameters (i.e., total particle surface area and total particle length) of nanoparticles. By comparison, the configuration of the EAD or NSAM is similar to that of electrical mobility analyzer of the early generation for particle size distribution measurement. It is therefore possible to use the EAD or NSAM as a particle sizer. To realize the objective of using the EAD as a sizer, we characterized the average electrical charges of monodisperse particles passing through the EAD particle charger and ion trap set at voltages ranging from 20 to 2500 V. The average charge data collected at different ion-trap voltages were then summarized by the empirical correlation using the parameter of Z p *V, where Z p is the particle electrical mobility and V is the ion-trap voltage. A data-reduction scheme was further proposed to retrieve the size distribution of sampled particles from the EAD readout at different ion-trap voltages. In the scheme, the functional format of each mode in a number size distribution of particles was assumed as log-normal, but the number of modes in an entire size distribution is not limited. A criterion was used to best fit the simulated EAD readouts with experimental ones by varying the count median diameter (CMD), geometric standard deviation (σ g), and total particle number (N t ) of each mode in a particle size distribution. Experiments were performed to verify the proposed scheme.


Nanoparticle sizer Electrical aerosol detector Nanoparticle surface area monitor EAD unipolar charger Nanotechnology Occupational health EHS