Christian L'Orange This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Gabe Neymark1, Ellison Carter2, John Volckens1

1 Mechanical Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO, USA
2 Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins CO, USA

Received: February 17, 2021
Revised: June 24, 2021
Accepted: August 24, 2021

 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: ||  

Cite this article:

L'Orange, C., Neymark, G., Carter, E., Volckens, J. (2021). A High-throughput, Robotic System for Analysis of Aerosol Sampling Filters. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 21, 210037.


  • An automated filter weighing and optical BC system was developed.
  • The system can greatly increase filter analysis throughput.
  • The system meets or exceeds U.S. EPA requirements for filter weighing.
  • The system can be expanded to included additional spectroscopic analyses.


The determination of accumulated mass on filter-based aerosol samples is the basis for many forms of scientific research and regulatory monitoring of air quality. However, gravimetric analysis of air sampling filters is tedious, time-intensive, and prone to human error. This work describes the development of an Automated Air Analysis Facility (AIRLIFT) for high-throughput gravimetric mass and optical black carbon measurements of filter-based aerosol samples. The AIRLIFT consists of a sealed environmental enclosure, a 6-axis articulating robotic arm, a programmable control system, a filter weighing apparatus, and an optical system for the determination of aerosol black carbon via light attenuation. The system actively monitors microbalance stability and chamber relative humidity. Digital imaging and QR code scanning support sample tracking and data logging. Performance metrics for temperature and humidity control and weight stability were found to meet or exceed minimum requirements set forth by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The AIRLIFT is capable of analyzing approximately 260 filters per day while reducing the required personnel time by a factor of ~4.

Keywords: Particulate matter, Gravimetric analysis, Air pollution, Black carbon, PM2.5

Share this article with your colleagues 


Subscribe to our Newsletter 

Aerosol and Air Quality Research has published over 2,000 peer-reviewed articles. Enter your email address to receive latest updates and research articles to your inbox every second week.