Comparison of four mobility particle sizers with different time resolution for stationary exposure measurements
Exposure to airborne ultrafine and nanoparticles has raised increased interest over the recent years as they may cause adverse health effects. A common way to quantify exposure to airborne particles is to measure particle number size distributions through electrical mobility analysis. Four mobility particle sizers have been subject to a detailed intercomparison study, a TSI Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (FMPS), a Grimm Sequential Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS+C), and two TSI Scanning Mobility Particle Sizers (SMPSs), equipped with two different condensation particle counters (CPC). The instruments were challenged with either NaCl or diesel soot particles. The results indicate that the sizing of all tested instrument was similar with only the FMPS size distributions consistently shifted toward smaller particle sizes. The Grimm SMPS generally measured higher concentrations and broader distributions than the TSI instruments. The two Grimm DMAs agreed well with each other; however, the TSI SMPS results showed a reproducible dependence on the flow rates. While TSI and Grimm SMPS delivered consistent results for sodium chloride (NaCl) and diesel soot, the FMPS seemed to react differently to the changing particle source than the SMPSs, which may be caused by either the different morphology or particle size dependent effects. For NaCl particles, the FMPS delivered the narrowest distributions and concentrations comparable with TSI SMPSs, whereas for diesel soot, it delivered the broadest distributions and higher concentrations than TSI SMPSs.