Aerosol particulate matter (PM) is a known risk factor for lung and liver cancer. In particular, PM under 1 mu m in diameter (PM1) is very dangerous for health, affecting the respiratory system with several heavy outcomes and reaching other human districts like liver, where foreign substances are processed. Today PM1 is still difficult to be detected on-field with standard techniques and this paper reports a comparison between two sensing approaches for environmental particulate monitoring, which are suitable for miniaturization and integration into portable and low-cost devices. Specifically, transducers based on surface acoustic waves (SAW) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) were comparatively investigated as alternatives to more common but also expensive optical methods. Moreover, their performances were evaluated for the detection of nanoparticles of different dimensions (1 mu m, 200 nm and 40 nm) to mimic different compositions of PM1 and reach a size scale which is an order of magnitude below present literature. Notably, both transduction methods were able to detect the presence of PM1 particulate. The SAW-based approach showed better performances in terms of sensitivity and detection of nanoscale particles, although the EIS strategy has a competitive sensitivity considering also its even lower cost.
Chiriacò, Maria Serena
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