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Development of an Automated System (PPWD/PILS) for Studying PM2.5 Water-Soluble Ions and Precursor Gases: Field Measurements in Two Cities, Taiwan

Category: PM2.5, Atmospheric Aerosols and Urban Air Quality

Volume: 17 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 426-443
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2016.10.0440
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Ziyi Li1, Yingshu Liu1, Yujie Lin2, Sneha Gautam2, Hui-Chuan Kuo2, Chuen-Jinn Tsai 2, Huajun Yeh3, Wei Huang3, Shih-Wei Li4, Guo-Jei Wu4

  • 1 School of Energy and Environmental Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
  • 2 Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan
  • 3 Focused Photonics (Hangzhou), Inc., Zhejiang 310052, China
  • 4 Environmental Analysis Laboratory, Environmental Protection Administration, Jhongli 320, Taiwan


An automated system was developed for monitoring atmospheric water-soluble species.
Six PM2.5 ions and four precursor gases were evaluated over hourly intervals.
Performance was validated by comparisons with other methods and previous data.
Meteorological conditions, ion-gas relations, and the ion balance were analyzed.


An automated system consisting of a particle-into-liquid sampler (PILS) and a parallel plate wet denuder (PPWD) coupled with an ion chromatography was used for simultaneous measurement of ambient water-soluble ions in PM2.5 and precursor gases. The performance of the PPWD/PILS was validated by comparing it with the PDS (porous metal denuder sampler) for precursor gases (NH3, HONO, HNO3 and SO2) and PM2.5 ionic species (NH4+, NO3, SO42–, Na+, Cl and K+) measured in Taipei and Hsinchu Cities of Taiwan. Good correlations were demonstrated with linear regression slopes ranging from 0.92 to 1.04 and 0.84 to 0.97 as well as R2 ranging from 0.76 to 0.83 and 0.89 to 0.94, for precursor gases and PM2.5 ions, respectively. The accuracy of the current system for precursor gases outperforms the other commercial systems. Field continuous data showed that NH3 was the most abundant precursor gas with the diurnal pattern peaking at low nocturnal boundary heights and during rush hours with local traffic emissions in Taipei, and with the pattern peaking only at mid-day associated with regional sources in Hsinchu. A reverse diurnal pattern for HONO in Taipei reflected the daytime photolysis and its nocturnal heterogeneous reaction, while its concentration was relatively constant at very low level in Hsinchu. SO42–, NH4+ and NO3 exhibited very similar diurnal patterns with the mean concentrations of 4.56 ± 3.14, 1.55 ± 1.16 and 0.52 ± 0.5 µg m–3 in Taipei, and 7.95 ± 5.52, 2.41 ± 1.95 and 0.96 ± 1.10 µg m–3 in Hsinchu, respectively. Correspondingly high concentrations of major ions to precursor gases were associated with the photochemical secondary aerosol formations and heavy traffic in Taipei. Based on an ammonia-rich atmosphere and high SOR values, (NH4)2SO4 and NH4NO3 were inferred to be the dominant inorganic salts in PM2.5 at both sites, which were also verified by the ion balance analysis.


PM2.5 Automated measurement system PPWD/PILS Inorganic ions Precursor gases Seasonal variation Diurnal variation

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