Assessment of integrated aerosol sampling techniques in indoor, confined and outdoor environments characterized by specific emission sources

Angelo Finco, Giacomo Alessandro Gerosa, Maria Chiesa, Laura Borgese, Ahmad Assi, Claudio Marchesi, Anne Wambui Mutahi, Franko Kasemi, Stefania Federici, Dario Zappa, Elisabetta Comini, Claudio Carnevale, Marialuisa Volta, Donatella Placidi, Roberto Lucchini, Elza Bontempi, Laura E. Depero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper highlights advantages and drawbacks due to the use of portable and low-cost devices for aerosol sampling, showing their performances during an aerosol monitoring campaign with the parallel use of the gravimetric sampling reference method and a cascade impactor. A specific monitoring campaign was held running all instruments in parallel in indoor, confined, and outdoor environments characterized by local emission sources or particulate matter background concentra-tions. PM2.5 concentrations were used to compare data emerging from the different instruments adopted. Significant underestimation of PM2.5 emerged when comparing data coming from optical sensors with those estimated by the cascade impactor, whose data resulted in being coherent with gravimetric determination, integrated over the same sampling time. A cause–effect relationship between PM2.5 concentrations and specific emission sources was found when observing the daily patterns of all the real-time sampling devices. It emerged that optical devices are useful for detecting concentration trends, the presence of peak values, or changes in the background value, even if with limited accuracy and precision. The comparison with particle size distributions obtained by the cascade impactor data allowed us to define which particle sizes are not detected by different optical devices, evidencing a low representativeness of optical low-cost sensors for health exposure measurements. The correlations among the specific particle size fractions detected by the cascade im-pactor and their specific emission sources were particularly high for car emissions in a semi-confined garage area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4360-N/A
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Air monitoring
  • Cascade impactor
  • Emission sources
  • Gravimetric analysis
  • Optical particle counter (OPC)
  • Size distribution


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