Utilization of Selected Area Electron Diffraction Patterns for Characterization of Air Submicron Particulate Matter Collected by a Thermophoretic Precipitator
A thermophoretic precipitator (TP) that uses a novelty of direct sampling of ambient air particulate matter (PM) onto transmission electron microscopy (TEM) grids was designed and utilized to determine its potential applicability for the collection and consequent qualitative analyses of representative PM in the air, especially those with aerodynamic diameter less than 1 µm (PM1.0 ). After a calibration process, preliminary field tests were performed under different weather conditions, locations, and time frames. TEM, selected area electron diffraction (SAED), and electron energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS) analyses were performed on individual samples, and chemical species were analyzed. During this investigation, individual air PM with different sizes ranging from 10 [H9262]m to 10 nm for TEM analysis was collected. Two observations were made: (1) a large fraction of collected particulates were aggregates of very small particles of both organic and inorganic origin, and (2) a large fraction of the collected particulates were crystalline or polycrystal-line. This study has demonstrated, by utilization of SAED patterns from TEM on air particles collected by a TP, the potential to analyze and identify individual air PM in a nanometer regime qualitatively by combining SAED and EDS data.