Air Analysis

Whether it's organic aerosols, metal particles suspended in air or fine dust generated in construction, mining and manufacturing - all of these air contaminations must be monitored to protect workers and the surrounding environment. Bruker provides vital tools to improve air analysis.

Aerosol Metrology for Atmospheric Science and Air Quality

Quantitative chemical analysis of airborne particulate matter (PM) is vital for the understanding of health effects in indoor and outdoor environments, as well as for enforcing EU air quality regulations. 

The AEROMET (Aerosol Metrology for Atmospheric Science and Air Quality) aims to lay the foundation and strengthen the metrological frameworks for air quality monitoring in Europe. Ultimately, AEROMET wants to develop and demonstrate methods with improved traceability and sensitivity for aerosol composite analysis.

During this project, cascade impactor aerosol sampling was combined for the first time with total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) spectroscopy to develop a tool for quantifying particle element compositions on-site and within short time intervals. 

Quantification of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmosphere

Precise quantitative measurements to determine the concentration of various Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere are of fundamental importance to understand their impact on climate change.  

Bruker’s high-end FTIR spectrometer IFS 125HR and the portable FT-IR spectrometer EM27/SUN can use the sun as the light source in order to measure the total column of a large number of relevant GHGs in the atmosphere. 

The spectrometers are employed either stationary, even in remote areas, or mobile for temporary measurement campaigns. The results allow e.g. to validate satellite-based measurements or to determine the amount of Greenhouse Gases emitted by a local source such as a city.

Watch how FT-IR is applied in Tokio, Japan.

Direct-on-filter (DoF) Analysis Coal and Silica Dust by FT-IR

Infrared (IR) spectroscopy (and of course X-ray diffraction) is generally used for exposure assessment. Traditionally, samples in powder form are handled, collected with a respirable sampler and must be ashed before analysis.

In recent years, however, practical and effective DoF methods have been developed that not only save time but also analyze mining dust using FT-IR. 

Analysis of Airborne and Waterborne Metal Particles on Filters by XRF

Airborne metalscollected on filters during welding, construction, mining, manufacturing, and paint removal must be monitored for heavy metals and other dangerous elements to protect workers and the surrounding environment. Similarly, waterborne metals collected on filters must be analyzed to protect people, animals, and the surrounding environment.

XRF is a fast, nondestructive technology for elemental analysis of heavy metals and other trace elements collected on filters for environmental assessments. Bruker’s Elemental Analyzer portfolio includes high-throughput lab-based ED-XRF and WD-XRF, point-and-shoot handheld XRFmicro-XRF, and total reflection XRF (TXRF) spectrometers.


TXRF has the sensitivity of ICP-OES and AAS for heavy metal analysis, even when analyzing just minimal amounts of sample material deposited on a filter. TXRF elemental analysis is a significantly faster and “greener” method than ICP. A draft SOP for in-field TXRF measurements as per the EU EMPIR 16ENV07 AEROMET program is available.

Portable XRF is ideal for the measurement of dust wipes and filters. Surface dust wipes, paint chips and flakes can all be screened for heavy metals as per industrial hygiene requirements. It enables compliance with NIOSH 7702 and OSHA OSSS1/OSA1.

Monitoring Silica Workplace Dust Exposure by XRD

Lung cancer and other health problems are known to be related to occupational exposure to breathable crystalline silica (SiO2). As a result, silica dust, or free silica, is the second most frequent cause of cancer in the workplace after asbestos.

X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) effectivly distinguishes the polymorphs of crystalline silica (quartz, cristobalite and tridymite). In addition, XRD provides an explanation for interference with other minerals that may be present in the workplace.

Monitoring Air Polluting Sulfur from Ship Fuel with Portable XRF

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) carriage ban on non-compliant fuel oil went into effect on March 1, 2020. Quickly and accurately measure sulfur in marine fuels to ensure bunker fuels meet regulations in Emission Control Areas and other restricted locations. This method follows ASTM D4249 higher concentration range of 0.1 to 5.0% Sulfur in Fuel and ISO 8754:2003. Suppliers, engineers, ship captains and inspectors can use our portable XRF Sulfur Measurement solutions at service labs, supply stations, on docks, in ports, and even aboard barges and ships. 

Bruker’s CTX portable XRF system provides a reliable and inexpensive verification of sulfur in fuel onboard or at the terminal.