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Ultrafine Particles in the Atmosphere
Fine particles from diverse natural and anthropogenic origins are ubiquitous in the atmosphere. They influence physical processes such as cloud formation and radiation transfer, but are also affecting people’s health. Ultrafine particles (< 1mm in diameter) are by far the most important contribution to the number size distribution. It is this fraction, which will also penetrate farthest into the respiratory tract, eventually reaching the lung and other organs. Little is known, however, about their chemical and physical characteristics. Together with the “Air Pollution / Environmental Technology” group of EMPA we try to develop tools to sample and characterize the nanosize fraction of aerosol in order to trace back their sources and to supply basic parameters to understand their toxicology.

Main questions

- How can ultrafine, airborne particles be sampled and analyzed?
- What is the physical and chemical nature of such ultrafine particles?
- What are the sources and transportation mechanisms of such particles?

Prof. Dr. Bernard Grobéty bernard.grobety@unifr.ch