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Engineered nanoparticle detection in the ambient air?

Currently, the detection of engineered nanoparticles is a very delicate exercise. In air, the important and variable background noise (~ 104 part.cm-3 in the range of 5 nm to 350 nm) most of the time masks an increase in concentration due, for example, to a leak on a process. The high temporal variability of this background noise is a sensitive issue for physical instrumentation. 


Hypothesis of a leak of engineered nanoparticles around 10 nm in a "natural" background noise.

The high time variability of the background noise is a delicate issue of physics instrumentation.

A detection system for a potential danger must be technically reliable and should not be triggered at any time by a simple air movement, or any artefact.

To treat this difficulty, several techniques are currently being studied: monitoring of a chemical specie (for example TiO2), a particular morphology (fiber) or a particular isotopic ratio.