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Anal Chem. 2006 Sep 1;78(17):6169-78.

Comparison of two methods for obtaining quantitative mass concentrations from aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry measurements.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California-San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0314, USA.


Aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ATOFMS) measurements provide continuous information on the aerodynamic size and chemical composition of individual particles. In this work, we compare two approaches for converting unscaled ATOFMS measurements into quantitative particle mass concentrations using (1) reference mass concentrations from a co-located micro-orifice uniform deposit impactor (MOUDI) with an accurate estimate of instrument busy time and (2) reference number concentrations from a co-located aerodynamic particle sizer (APS). Aerodynamic-diameter-dependent scaling factors are used for both methods to account for particle transmission efficiencies through the ATOFMS inlet. Scaling with APS data retains the high-resolution characteristics of the ambient aerosol because the scaling functions are specific for each hourly time period and account for a maximum in the ATOFMS transmission efficiency curve for larger-sized particles. Scaled mass concentrations obtained from both methods are compared with co-located PM(2.5) measurements for evaluation purposes. When compared against mass concentrations from a beta attenuation monitor (BAM), the MOUDI-scaled ATOFMS mass concentrations show correlations of 0.79 at Fresno, and the APS-scaled results show correlations of 0.91 at Angiola. Applying composition-dependent density corrections leads to a slope of nearly 1 with 0 intercept between the APS-scaled absolute mass concentration values and BAM mass measurements. This paper provides details on the methodologies used to convert ATOFMS data into continuous, quantitative, and size-resolved mass concentrations that will ultimately be used to provide a quantitative estimate of the number and mass concentrations of particles from different sources.

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