How to analyse aerosols?

Analysis of Aerosols

Aerosols, a colloidal mixture of particles dispersed in air or another gas, are crucial for various environmental, industrial, and healthcare applications. Analyzing aerosols involves characterizing their physical, chemical, and optical properties to understand their impacts and dynamics in their respective environments.

Methods of Aerosol Analysis

Aerosol analysis employs various sophisticated techniques, each suited to acquire specific types of data:

  • Laser Diffraction
  • Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS)
  • Electrical Low Pressure Impactor (ELPI)
  • Aerosol Mass Spectrometry
  • Optical Particle Counters

Detailed Analysis Techniques

Laser Diffraction: Measures the size distribution of aerosol particles by analyzing the pattern of light scattered when a laser beam passes through a sample. Widely used for its rapid measurement capabilities.

Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS): Determines the size distribution based on the electrical mobility of charged particles. It is priceless for measuring nanoparticles.

Electrical Low Pressure Impactor (ELPI): Useful for real-time monitoring of particle size distribution. Operates by charging particles, then collecting them on substrates at various pressures.

Aerosol Mass Spectrometry: Provides detailed chemical composition of aerosols by ionizing the particles and analyzing the mass-to-charge ratio of the resultant ions. It's pivotal for air quality studies.

Optical Particle Counters: Count and size particles by detecting the light they scatter when passing through a laser beam. It's employed for cleanroom monitoring and environmental assessment.


The analysis of aerosols is multidimensional, requiring an understanding of both physical and chemical properties. From air quality monitoring to drug delivery in healthcare, the methods of aerosol analysis are varied and sophisticated, tailored to meet specific research and industrial needs.

Additional Resources

For further reading and detailed methodologies, scientific publications and dedicated sections in environmental science textbooks offer comprehensive insights into aerosol analysis techniques.

Back to blog

Leave a comment