Characterisation of indoor airborne particles by using real-time aerosol mass spectrometry

Manuel Dall'Osto, Roy Harrison, E Charpantidou, G Loupa, S Rapsomanikis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    An Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS; TSI 3800) was deployed to Athens (Greece) during August 2003. The instrument provides information on a polydisperse aerosol, acquiring precise aerodynamic diameter (+/-1%) within the range 0.3 to 3 mum and individual particle positive and negative mass spectral data in real time. Sampling was carried out indoors and outdoors at an office in a building on a minor road in the city centre and various outdoor and indoor sources were identified. Specific outdoor particles such as dust and carbon particles were detected in indoor air. The generation of particles from indoor sources was studied and several different types of particle were found to be present in environmental tobacco smoke (ETS): three were potassium-rich (with differing proportions of carbon) emitted directly in the exhaled mainstream smoke. Two other types arose mainly when the cigarette was left smouldering on an ash-tray. Another particle type exhibited a strong signal at m/z 84, most likely due to a nicotine fragment. The temporal trend of this specific particle type showed likely condensation of semi-volatile constituents on existing potassium-rich particles. A release of insect repellent in the room was also successfully monitored.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)120-133
    Number of pages14
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007


    • ATOFMS
    • particulate matter
    • indoor air
    • DEET
    • ETS
    • insect repellent


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