A highly sensitive technique for detecting catalytically active nanoparticles against a background of general workplace aerosols
N. Neubauer, F. Weis, A. Binder, M. Seipenbusch, G. Kasper
Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 2011, 304 (1), doi:10.1088/1742-6596/304/1/012011
A new measurement technique was studied using catalysis to specifically detect airborne nanoparticles in presence of background particles in the workplace air. Catalytically active nanoparticles produced by spark discharge were used as aerosol catalysts. According to these particles suitable catalytic test reactions were chosen and investigated by two different approaches: catalysis on airborne nanoparticles and catalysis on deposited nanoparticles. The results indicate that catalysis is applicable for the specific measurement of nanoparticles in the workplace air. Catalysis on airborne particles is suitable for the specific detection of very active nanoparticles, e.g. platinum or nickel, at high concentrations of about 107 #/cm3. The approach of catalysis on deposited particles is better suited for nanoparticle aerosols at low concentrations, for slow catalytic reactions or less active nanoparticles like iron oxide (Fe2O3). On the basis of the experimental results detection limits in the range of μg or even ng were calculated which assure the good potential of catalysis for the specific detection of nanoparticles in the workplace air based on their catalytic activity.