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Applicability of Optical and Diffusion Charging-Based Particulate Matter Sensors to Urban Air Quality Measurements

Category: Urban Air Quality

Volume: 19 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 1024-1039
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.04.0143
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Joel Kuula 1, Heino Kuuluvainen2, Topi Rönkkö2, Jarkko V. Niemi3, Erkka Saukko4, Harri Portin3, Minna Aurela1, Sanna Saarikoski1, Antti Rostedt2, Risto Hillamo1, Hilkka Timonen1

  • 1 Atmospheric Composition Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, FI-00560 Helsinki, Finland
  • 2 Aerosol Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Tampere University of Technology, FI-33101 Tampere, Finland
  • 3 Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY), 00240 Helsinki, Finland
  • 4 Pegasor Oy, 33100 Tampere, Finland

Highlights

  • Different type sensors can be leveraged to improve air quality monitoring networks.
  • Optical type sensors are best suited for measuring particulate mass.
  • Diffusion charging type sensors best suited for measuring LDSA.

Abstract

High spatial resolution particulate matter measurements are necessary to accurately characterize urban air quality issues. This study investigates how sensors can be used in an urban area to complement existing air quality measurements. A measurement campaign was conducted during winter in Helsinki, Finland, where the performance of a custom-built optical instrument—the Prototype Aerosol Sensor (PAS; uses Shinyei PPD60PV and PPD42NS sensor modules)—and three commercial diffusion charging-based sensors (Pegasor AQ Urban, DiSCmini and Partector) was evaluated against reference instruments. The results showed that the PAS was able to measure the coarse (PM2.5-10; range: 0–400 µg m–3) and fine (PM2.5; range: 0–50 µg m–3) fractions with reasonably high correlations (R2 = 0.87 and 0.77) when compared to a gravimetric monitor. Likewise, the lung deposited surface area (LDSA) concentrations delivered by the three diffusion charging sensors indicated good performance (R2: 0.92–0.97) when compared to LDSA concentrations calculated from the size distribution data of the differential mobility particle sizer. A clear correlation (R2 = 0.77) between the black carbon and Pegasor-measured LDSA concentrations, as well as similar diurnal cycles, was observed, suggesting a common source. The optical sensors were useful for measuring the mass concentrations of coarse local particles. By contrast, the diffusion charging sensors were applicable in urban environments, where ultrafine particles from traffic or other local combustion sources affect air quality.

Keywords

Urban air quality Low-cost sensor Optical Diffusion charging PM2.5


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