Development of a Low-Cost Particulate Matter Monitor

This page updated November 23, 2005.

Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center
(UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Development of a Low-Cost Particulate Matter Monitor

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has designed and tested a prototype instrument employing a novel technique to deposit airborne particles on a piezoelectric. The device monitors the mass of fine respirable particulate matter (having 2.5 or 10 micron diameters) deposited during a known sampling time. It also uses optical means to differentiate among various types of particulate matter: diesel exhaust, environmental tobacco smoke and wood smoke. The sensor response will be directly relatable to the applicable Federal Reference Methods.
Proposed Project
The Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center, on the Berkeley campus, and LBNL will design and test improvements to the particulate monitor described above and apply MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) techniques to make a smaller, more sensitive and cost-effective particulate monitor. This device will be portable and usable by relatively untrained personnel. It will operate unattended for an attractively long period and will be destined for use in obtaining population-based exposure assessment for particulate epidemiology studies -- for example, in homes with asthmatic children. Beyond its use in research, it will be suitable for continuous particulate monitoring, permitting individuals and community-based organizations to make their own measurements.

Funding Source

Funding Amount




$  63,000



ICAT Funded Projects