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Employment of novel tools for the continuous characterization of the carbonaceous fraction in ambient aerosol

Development of a new measurement system to better understand the effects of carbonaceous aerosol on climate and public health.



Particle-bound Total Carbon Analysis


To develop a standalone carbonaceous aerosol measurement system for long-term unattended operation.


Total aerosol carbon mass (TC) is a major constituent of atmospheric fine aerosol particles. However, this fraction is not yet continuously monitored at atmosphere monitoring networks like, e.g., Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW). Commercial instruments for characterization of carbonaceous aerosol are expensive and not ready for standalone operation. The lack of an appropriate measurement system is the main obstacle to improve the carbonaceous aerosol dataset. Adding a TC measurement is thus crucial to complete the existing measurement program for a comprehensive interpretation impact of aerosols on our climate. We develop a carbonaceous aerosol measurement system for long-term monitoring of TC. The instrument is a redesign of FATCAT (FAst Thermal CArbon Totalizator), a successfully tested technology for emission monitoring developed at the FHNW. The standardization and the development of a simplified continuous TC measurement method aim to fill a major gap in the GAW aerosol monitoring program and beyond! I.e., to provide an affordable method of carbonaceous aerosol measurement at monitoring sites and to assure comparability of data measured by different research groups.

Project information

ExecutionFHNW Institute for Sensors and Electronics
Duration4 Years
FundingMeteoSchweiz / Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW)Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
PartnersEMPA, PSI
ContactDr. Alejandro Keller