Berkeley, CA, United States

Aerosol Dynamics, Inc.

www.aerosol.us
Berkeley, CA, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 930.43K | Year: 2014

Atmospheric nucleation processes produce large numbers of particles. Once formed, these particles grow rapidly and may alter the formation and lifetime of clouds, and thereby influence the earths radiation balance. Rapid growth of newly formed particles has been observed in many locations, but it is not known what chemical constituents contribute to this growth. While mobility-selection mass combined with spectrometry has provided important chemical data for particles above about 10 nm in diameter, data for smaller particle sizes are lacking. The problem is the low efficiency for placing a single electrical charge on these small particles, without significant multiple charging, as is required for their mobility-based size-selection. These data are required to validate models for nanoparticle growth. This work aims to improve the electrical charging, and hence the efficiency of the mobility size selection and particle collection process. Even with a unipolar charger, the fraction of particles that carry an electrical charge is small (a few percent), and this fraction decreases rapidly with decreasing particle diameter. Our approach is a condensationally-enhanced charging and evaporation method for increased efficiency of particle charging. In contrast to other condensation approaches, our method greatly reduces the time for the entire condensation-charging-evaporation process to a few tens of milliseconds, thereby minimizing the opportunity for chemical artifacts. Thermal desorption chemical ionization mass spectrometry data obtained using our condensation-evaporation system show clean ion spectra for particles sampled in chemically reacting atmospheres. This project will optimize this technique for placing a single electrical charge on particles in the 3 10 nm size range. It will also integrate the new charger with the Thermal Desorption Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometer, providing critically-needed information on the species that are responsible for the growth of nascent atmospheric aerosol. Commercial Applications and OtherBenefits: This technique will enable measurement of the chemical composition of newly formed particles. Such data will have important atmospheric implications, and will improve understanding of cloud formation and global climate. Commercial applications extend beyond the atmospheric research community to the nanofabrication industry, where size-selective characterization of nanometer-sized particles is critical, and to the emerging field of ion trap mass spectrometery where controlled charging of large molecules is needed.


Patent
Aerosol Dynamics, Inc. | Date: 2015-10-19

An apparatus and method for creating enlarged particles in a flow. The apparatus includes a coiled tube having a tube diameter and a coil diameter, the tube having an input receiving the flow and an output, the tube having a length between the input and the output. A heater heats a first portion of the tube along a first, longitudinal portion of the tube, and a cooler cools a second, longitudinal portion of the tube along at least a second portion of the tube. The method includes heating a first portion of the tube along a first longitudinal portion of the tube, and simultaneously cooling a second portion of the tube along at least a second longitudinal portion of the tube. While heating and cooling, the method includes introducing a flow into an interior of the tube at an input, the flow moving the output.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.28K | Year: 2015

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant The oxidative capacity of airborne particulate matter has been correlated with the generation of oxidative stress both in vitro and in vivo In recent years epidemiological studies have associated damaged caused by cellular oxidative stress with several common diseases such as asthma chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD Alzheimerandapos s and other neurological diseases However these studies are based on daily exposure and averaged oxidative capacity of ambient particulate matter Oxidative potential of the particles depends considerably on their chemical composition more specifically on their redox active compounds such as transition metals and quinones It is well known that physical chemical properties of ambient particles vary with emission sources and the extent of photochemical aging Thus we expect diurnal variations in the ability of particulate matter to generate reactive oxygen species and exert oxidative damage are expected Currently there are several chemical and in vitro assays to determine the oxidative capacity of ambient particles However significant amounts of sample are needed to obtain a quantifiable response Using the common collection devices long sampling periods are needed usually to hours With these long collection periods chemical properties of the particles may be altered and peak exposures hidden Recent studies on the association between airborne particle exposures and adverse health effects identify short term peaks in particulate matter exposures as important factors in health threat especially in lung diseases An epidemiological study of the effect of short term exposure to peaks in particulate matter concentrations found that asthma symptoms were more highly associated with h and h maximum PM particles with diameter andlt m exposures than with h mean PM exposures Based on these results the development of instruments capable of measuring exposure to peak concentrations of health stressors is of vital importance In this project we propose a new approach for an on line monitor of the oxidative capacity of aerosols o MOCA The main objective is to develop a field deployable system that allows in situ time resolved assessment of the capacity of airborne particles to generate ROS Our approach capitalizes on our firmandapos s new particle growth technology that enables direct particle deposition into liquids obtaining concentrated suspensions ready for chemical and in vitro assays The aerosol collector uses the water condensational growth technology which allows the collection of particles as small as nm into concentrated water suspensions with efficiencies andgt The oxidative potential of the collected particles will be measured using the chemical assays commonly known as the DTT assay dithiothreitol assay The o MOCA approach has several advantages over the existing laboratory and on line systems i it can efficiently collect PM directly into a small volume of water increasing the particle concentration and thus reducing the time needed for collection ii with direct collection it avoids the most common artifacts associated with other particle collectio systems iii it allows for time resolved collection and in field direct analysis allowing for a mre satisfactory daily characterization of the PM oxidative capacity The ability to characterize the oxidative potential of aerosols in a time resolved manner will provide more accurate results when assessing possible adverse outcomes related to oxidative stress responses resulting from PM exposure Our goal will be achieved by completing the following specific aims i design construction and off line optimization of the chemical assay module ii interface the chemical module with the liquid collector iii conduct laboratory controlled studies to evaluate whether ou approach allows for near real time measurements of the oxidative capacity of ambient PM PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Exposure to fine particulate matter is associated with a number of adverse health effects However the mechanisms by which airborne particles exert toxicity are not well understood A leading hypothesis states that inhaled airborne particles induce injury by generating reactive oxygen species ROS In this project we proposed a new approach to measure the ability of particles to produce ROS by developing an on line monitor of the oxidative capacity of aerosols o MOCA The proposed system allows direct deposition of airborne particles into liquid capturing both soluble and insoluble components and minimizing changes in particle properties involved in their oxidative potential The oxidative capacity of the particles in suspension is measured on line using the dithiothreitol DTT assay The o MOCA provides the means for in situ real time assessment of the ability of airborne particles to generate ROS allowing a better understanding of the impact that exposure to aerosol may have on human health


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.30M | Year: 2016

One of the key parameters affecting the role of atmospheric aerosols in global climate is aerosol hygroscopicity, which describes the water uptake of aerosol particles. Hygroscopicity affects the scattering of light by individual particles; it is important to heterogeneous chemical transformations; and it plays a significant role in the formation and microphysical properties of clouds, all of which are important to global climate. Current measurement approaches are slow and tedious, requiring many minutes to assess the size change for a single particle size and humidity setting, and many hours to measure the entire water-uptake growth curve. This slow response makes such measurements prohibitive on aircraft platforms, and more generally limits the measurements to smaller particle size range, where number concentrations are higher, and scans are faster. How this Problem is Being Addressed We propose the near-instantaneous measurement of particle hygroscopicity through a relative-humidity controlled Aerosol Mobility Imaging system. A basic Aerosol Mobility Imaging system combines the Fast Imaging Mobility Spectrometer developed at Brookhaven National Laboratory with the laminar flow water condensation methodologies developed at ADI. Developed with DOE STTR support, the Aerosol Mobility Imaging system separates, enlarges and images individual particles to provide a complete mobility particle size distributions measurements over a wide size range (e.g. 10 – 400 nm) with 1-second resolution. With the addition of relative humidity control, our RH-AMI will provide rapid measurement of the entire hygroscopic growth curve. What is to be done in Phase I We will develop a humidity scanning system that will facilitate near real-time measurement of particle growth as a function of relative humidity and size. Operated with an upstream mobility size selection device, our proposed system will provide the complete spectrum of particle size change at a selected relative humidity within seconds. Further, by capitalizing on the two-dimensional mobility separation concept of the wide-range instrument, we will be able to make simultaneous measurements at more than one relative humidity value, thereby always providing a reference, or possibly a complete humidity spectrum at once. We estimate that size-resolved hygroscopicity for dry particle sizes from 10 nm to 400 nm can be obtained every few minutes. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits Commercial applications span a wide range of atmospheric aerosol research uses for which rapid measurement of aerosol hygroscopicity are needed. It will allow scientists to better assess the magnitude of airborne particles’ impact on radiation, cloud formation, and global climate, and hence provide the information needed to better cope with a changing climate.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.36M | Year: 2016

The size-dependent concentration of airborne particles plays a critical role in the direct scattering and absorption of light, and in the physical characteristics, lifetime and spatial extent of clouds. These factors affect the earth’s radiation balance, and hence climate. Yet these effects are not adequately quantified, in part because of insufficient data on the size and concentration of atmospheric aerosols. Assessment of the global extent, size and concentration of airborne particles requires more portable instruments than currently available. How the Problem is Being Addressed: Proposed is a miniature sensor, suitable for UAV and tethered balloon deployments, for the real-time measurement of the size distribution and concentration of airborne particles in the critical size range from 10nm and 1000 nm in diameter. Our sensor will combine two novel technologies: (1) the opposed migration aerosol classifier developed at the California Institute of Technology; and (2) the self-sustaining laminar-flow water condensation particle counter and collector developed by our firm. The opposed migration aerosol classifier provides particle size-selection based on electrical mobility in an inherently compact form. The self-sustaining water condensation counter provides single particle detection, does not require liquid fill reservoirs, and can be operated in any orientation. Both technologies are compatible with devices small enough for UAV or balloon deployment. Reported parameters are particle number distribution, total number concentration, geometric mean diameter. Because our system uses electrical mobility sizing, it provides a measure of particle physical size, and is independent of particle refractive index or density. What is to be done in Phase I: Preliminary work presented in the proposal shows successful application of this approach to measurements in the size range from 10nm to 200nm at urban concentration levels. In Phase I we will (1) extend this size range to span from 10nm to 1000nm, (2) increase the sample rate to provide fast time response for remote, background level particle concentrations and (3) demonstrate the precision and accuracy through comparison with bench-top instruments. In Phase II we will design, construct and test an integrated system that we will be suitable for UAV monitoring. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The fields of use for the proposed instrument range from atmospheric aerosol research, climate research, epidemiology studies, air quality monitoring, industrial process control, and industrial hygiene. Currently there are no tools for measuring particle size and concentration from UAV or tethered balloon platforms, or in micro-environmental and industrial spaces where ultrafine particle exposure is of concern. As an unobtrusive long-term monitor our device will provide a tool for community monitoring in schools, offices, and homes, or serve as a more compact instrument for ground-based particulate monitoring.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.45K | Year: 2016

A compact instrument will be develop to provide long-term monitoring of the number concentration and approximate size of airborne particles in microgravity environments such as found aboard spacecraft cabins. Particles as small as 10 nm will be detected by a self-sustaining, tippable, water-based condensation particle counter. This will be coupled to an optical sizing instrument to provide particle concentration and approximate sizing from 10 nm to >20 micrometers. Knowledge of the concentration and size of airborne particles on manned spacecraft is needed to assess environment to which astronauts are exposed, and to provide early warning of on-board fire. Especially important are those in the submicrometer size range. Yet to date there is no zero-gravity technique for long-term monitoring these fine particles at the low concentrations generally present. Our innovation, a tippable, self-sustaining, water-based condensation particle counter, will provide this measurement. Individual particles as small as 10nm are detected through condensational enlargement to form optically detectable droplets. Unlike other condensational methods all liquid water required for measurement is contained within, and recpatured by, the wick of the instrument. All water transport is by capillary action, and thus enabling operation at zero gravity. Combined with ultrafine particle precut, and standard optical particle counting and sizing for larger particles, this instrument system will provide particle number concentration and approximate sizing from 10 nm to above 20 micrometers.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 121.11K | Year: 2015

Currently there are no tools to monitor the size or concentration of nanometer to submicrometer particles aboard spacecraft cabins. Yet there are many sources aboard the spacecraft known to generate particles in this ultrafine size range. Our technology provides a means to make this measurement in a compact, low power, unit that may be made suitable for spacecraft. With a newly developed, self-sustaining water-based condensation particle technology, particles from the nanometer to micrometer size range are enlarged through water condensation and counted optically. Yet, unlike other condensation-based counters, our unit recovers all of the evaporated water within the wick itself. It needs no water reservoirs, and can be operated in any orientation. All water transport is by capillary action, and gravity is not needed. Coupled with a size selection device it can provide data on mean particle size. Measurable concentrations are from 1 to 1 million particles per cubic centimeter. We aim to adapt our existing technology to the long-term, zero-gravity, robust monitoring needed by NASA. Specific objectives are to verify a prototype self-sustaining condensation particle counting system that can be operated in any orientation; that can detect and count individual particles from 10 to 2000 nm; that contains the controls and on-board diagnostics to ensure long-term performance; and whose critical components are compatible with an ultimate package weighing less than 2 kg, and requiring less than 4 watts of power.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.39M | Year: 2015

Organic chemicals comprise the dominant fraction of particulates found in atmospheric aerosols, and the largest proportions of these are secondary products formed in the atmosphere from oxidation of volatile organic compounds. Often these chemical transformations result from complex pathways involving species from different sources. To understand these processes, we need to be able to trace the transformation pathways from the emitted vapor species to the oxygenated, less volatile organic matter that comprises the organic aerosol. Proposed is expanding the capability of the Semi-Volatile Thermal desorption Aerosol Gas chromatograph (SV-TAG) instrument to add the measurement of more volatile VOCs which are important secondary organic aerosol (SOA) precursors. Both the VOC precursor and resulting SOA products will be measured by a single detector providing consistent quantification over 15 orders of magnitude of volatility in the comprehensive TAG (c-TAG) instrument. Phase I work developed a VOC collector compatible with the existing SV-TAG system and capable of measuring, identifying, and quantifying organic compounds within the volatility range equal to that of C5 to C16 alkanes. This range spans the dominant biogenic emissions of isoprene and monoterpenes, as well as many important anthropogenic alkanes and aromatics from fossil fuel use. In our Phase II effort we aim to combine these VOC and SVOC channels into a single instrument with a common mass spectrometer, to provide a fully automated, field-deployable instrument with on-line calibration. The proposed instrument will be the very first to comprehensively measure C5- C33 species hourly in-situ, including essentially all the major known primary precursors to secondary organic aerosols from biogenic and anthropogenic sources, along with many of their oxidation products. Combining these measurements in the proposed single comprehensive c-TAG instrument offers many compelling, practical advantages, including consistency through use of a common detector, lower costs, and a smaller footprint. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: This instrument will be of practical use to the atmospheric research community, especially those now using aerosol mass spectrometers to measure bulk aerosol composition. The molecular level speciation from this instrument will provide insights into chemical transformation processes in the atmosphere that are important to particle formation, and indirectly to cloud characteristics and climate.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 216.62K | Year: 2015

Statement of the Problem: The size-dependent concentration of airborne particles plays a critical role in the direct scattering and absorption of light, and in the physical characteristics, lifetime and spatial extent of clouds. These factors affect the earths radiation balance, and hence climate. Yet these effects are not adequately quantified, in part because of insufficient data on the size and concentration of atmospheric aerosols. Assessment of the global extent, size and concentration of airborne particles requires more portable instruments than currently available. How the Problem is Being Addressed: Proposed is a miniature sensor, suitable for UAV and tethered balloon deployments, for the real-time measurement of the size distribution and concentration of airborne particles in the critical size range from 10nm and 1000 nm in diameter. Our sensor will combine two novel technologies: (1) the opposed migration aerosol classifier developed at the California Institute of Technology; and (2) the self-sustaining laminar-flow water condensation particle counter and collector developed by our firm. The opposed migration aerosol classifier provides particle size-selection based on electrical mobility in an inherently compact form. The self-sustaining water condensation counter provides single particle detection, does not require liquid fill reservoirs, and can be operated in any orientation. Both technologies are compatible with devices small enough for UAV or balloon deployment. Reported parameters are particle number distribution, total number concentration, geometric mean diameter. Because our system uses electrical mobility sizing, it provides a measure of particle physical size, and is independent of particle refractive index or density. What is to be done in Phase I: Preliminary work presented in the proposal shows successful application of this approach to measurements in the size range from 10nm to 200nm at urban concentration levels. In Phase I we will (1) extend this size range to span from 10nm to 1000nm, (2) increase the sample rate to provide fast time response for remote, background level particle concentrations and (3) demonstrate the precision and accuracy through comparison with bench-top instruments. In Phase II we will design, construct and test an integrated system that we will be suitable for UAV monitoring. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The fields of use for the proposed instrument range from atmospheric aerosol research, climate research, epidemiology studies, air quality monitoring, industrial process control, and industrial hygiene. Currently there are no tools for measuring particle size and concentration from UAV or tethered balloon platforms, or in micro-environmental and industrial spaces where ultrafine particle exposure is of concern. As an unobtrusive long-term monitor our device will provide a tool for community monitoring in schools, offices, and homes, or serve as a more compact instrument for ground-based particulate monitoring. Keywords: ultrafine particles, particle size distribution, particle number concentration, mobility analyzer, condensation particle counter. Summary for members of Congress Submicrometer and ultrafine particles affect our climate, our visual air quality and our health. This research will provide a portable tool for the accurate measurement of the size and concentration of these particles, thereby enabling these measurements in locations where such measurements are not currently feasible.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 208.10K | Year: 2015

One of the key parameters affecting the role of atmospheric aerosols in global climate is aerosol hygroscopicity, which describes the water uptake of aerosol particles. Hygroscopicity affects the scattering of light by individual particles; it is important to heterogeneous chemical transformations; and it plays a significant role in the formation and microphysical properties of clouds, all of which are important to global climate. Current measurement approaches are slow and tedious, requiring many minutes to assess the size change for a single particle size and humidity setting, and many hours to measure the entire water-uptake growth curve. This slow response makes such measurements prohibitive on aircraft platforms, and more generally limits the measurements to smaller particle size range, where number concentrations are higher, and scans are faster. How this Problem is Being Addressed We propose the near-instantaneous measurement of particle hygroscopicity through a relative-humidity controlled Aerosol Mobility Imaging system. A basic Aerosol Mobility Imaging system combines the Fast Imaging Mobility Spectrometer developed at Brookhaven National Laboratory with the laminar flow water condensation methodologies developed at ADI. Developed with DOE STTR support, the Aerosol Mobility Imaging system separates, enlarges and images individual particles to provide a complete mobility particle size distributions measurements over a wide size range (e.g. 10 400 nm) with 1-second resolution. With the addition of relative humidity control, our RH-AMI will provide rapid measurement of the entire hygroscopic growth curve. What is to be done in Phase I We will develop a humidity scanning system that will facilitate near real-time measurement of particle growth as a function of relative humidity and size. Operated with an upstream mobility size selection device, our proposed system will provide the complete spectrum of particle size change at a selected relative humidity within seconds. Further, by capitalizing on the two-dimensional mobility separation concept of the wide-range instrument, we will be able to make simultaneous measurements at more than one relative humidity value, thereby always providing a reference, or possibly a complete humidity spectrum at once. We estimate that size-resolved hygroscopicity for dry particle sizes from 10 nm to 400 nm can be obtained every few minutes. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits Commercial applications span a wide range of atmospheric aerosol research uses for which rapid measurement of aerosol hygroscopicity are needed. It will allow scientists to better assess the magnitude of airborne particles impact on radiation, cloud formation, and global climate, and hence provide the information needed to better cope with a changing climate. Keywords: HTDMA, particle hygroscopicity Summary for Members of Congress An instrument will be developed to facilitate rapid measurement of water uptake by particles in the atmosphere that are important to human health, cloud formation and global climate. It will allow scientists to better assess the magnitude these effects, and hence provide information needed to better cope with a changing climate.

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