The Analyst, 129(5):416-420, 5, 2004. Paper Website abstract bibtex
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are known for their mutagenic and carcinogenic properties. They are mainly emitted into the atmosphere by anthropogenic, incomplete combustion sources. Their trends over the course of a day are of interest in air quality management. A new combination of methods has been developed for the qualitative monitoring of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient aerosols with high time and size resolution. This has been accomplished by combining sampling with a rotating drum impactor and the analysis two-step laser mass spectrometry (L2MS). A validation for this method was carried out. Essential features of these combined techniques are (i) continuous, automatic sampling and (ii) selective as well as sensitive analysis due to the low detection limits which can be achieved with the L2MS analysis instrument. Analysis of a field sample taken in downtown Zurich, Switzerland, underlines the usefulness of this combined method, for example for following diurnal cycles of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.