Development of a Personal Aerosol Collector and Spectrometer for Detecting Airborne Nanomaterials in an Operational Environment
Small Business Information
5100 Springfield Street, Suite 301, Dayton, OH, -
Sr. Research Engineer
Sr. Research Engineer
AbstractABSTRACT: Personal filter-based samplers are traditionally used to assess inhalation exposures to particles. When inhaled, however, engineered nanomaterials (NMs) can elicit adverse cardiopulmonary health outcomes that scale more closely with particle number or surface area rather than the conventional metric of mass concentration. Real-time monitors that provide output by number or surface area are ill-suited for personal sampling and cannot distinguish NMs from other airborne particles. As a result, exposure assessment tools are inadequate to evaluate the health risks posed by engineered NMs in the workplace and deployed environments. The objective of this Phase-I proposal is to combine available technologies into a novel, prototype personal monitorthe Personal Aerosol Collector and Spectrometer (PACS). The work proposed under Task 1 involves the design and construction of a prototype PACS to collect particles and to directly detect particle number and mass concentration by size. The firmware needed to translate the real-time PACS data to particle number, surface area, and mass concentration will be developed and tested under Task 2. These studies will pave the way for the Phase II studies that will integrate wireless capabilities into the PACS firmware and test the robust nature of the PACS under field conditions. BENEFIT: The prototype monitor that will be established through this work will represent a way, for the first time, to assess personal exposure to airborne particle concentrations by different metrics across a wide size range in near real-time. It will also allow speciation of collected particles to determine the size range associated with specific particles of interest, such as NMs apart from background aerosol. Such a personal device will be valuable not only for air force personnel in deployed and domestic situations but also for assessing community exposures in environmental settings (e.g., indoor and outdoor) or worker exposures in occupational settings (e.g., in-plant exposures during engineered nanoparticle production). We anticipate that this device will be used extensively in routine monitoring and in epidemiological studies investigating the relationship of particle exposures to adverse health effects in these settings. In addition, this new monitor will fit well within the framework of an advanced platform that we are developingthe individualized Health Status, Environment, Activity, and Location (iHEAL) platform. This platform gathersin a time frame that captures the exposure-effect relationship personalized information on health status, environmental exposures, physical activity, and location. The iHEAL queries these data in real-time looking for patterns in that lead to adverse health status, making possible alarms to warn patients or health care providers of potentially hazardous situations. Lastly, we will work towards miniaturizing the monitor upon successful completion of this work. We anticipate that a monitor smaller than a cell phone and worn like and ID badge will be possible in the future.
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