Wen-Hsi Cheng This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Chung-Shin Yuan2

1 Department of Occupational Safety and Hygiene, Fooyin University, Kaohsiung City 83102, Taiwan
2 Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung City 80424, Taiwan

Received: June 30, 2020
Revised: November 5, 2020
Accepted: November 11, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.06.0359  

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Cite this article:

Cheng, W.H., Yuan, C.S. (2021). Using a Micro Sampler on a Drone to Extract Organic Vapors—A Case Study of Monitoring Industrial Pollution. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 200359. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.06.0359


  • The quadrotor drone is small and it can be flown above industrial manufacturing areas.
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons, aldehydes, alkanes, organic acids were extracted by micro samplers.
  • The micro sampler on the drone successfully monitored industrial emissions.


Kaohsiung city located in the southern Taiwan is an industrial town and air pollutants were emitted from factories in the adjacent industrial zones. In order to track the pollution emission sources, a needle trap sampler (NTS), which is a micro solid phase microextraction (SPME) sampling device, was carried by a quadrotor drone to extract organic vapors from industries. The NTS was fabricated by packing divinylbenzene (DVB) particles of 60–80 mesh diameters into a 7 cm-long, 22-gauge stainless steel needle. The telescoping sampling device was carried by a DJI Mavic Pro quadrotor drone, and its effectiveness for extracting organic vapors from industrial processing air exhausts from chimneys was studied. The total weight of sampling device, including a NTS, a telescoping shaft, a Li-battery, a mini-air pump and the ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) loading frame, was less than 200 g. The mainly emitted compounds, including aromatic hydrocarbons (toluene of 1,450±650 ppb, ethylbenzene of 34±12 ppb and xylenes of 51±25 ppb), formaldehyde (50±12 ppb), alkanes (propane of 30±10 ppb), triacetin (7,620±1600 ppb) and terephthalic acid (20±5 ppb) were collected and then identified by the off-line gas chromatography (GC)-mass spectroscopy (MS) system in the laboratory. The quadrotor drone successfully monitored air pollution and tracked their emission sources from waste incineration, petroleum refinement, chemical processing and electronic part production.

Keywords: Drone, Air sampling, Needle trap sampler, Monitoring, Air pollution

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