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Volume 16, No. 4, April 2016, Pages 919-929 PDF(506 KB)  
doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.10.0614   

Experimental Comparison of Two Portable and Real-Time Size Distribution Analyzers for Nano/Submicron Aerosol Measurements

Ta-Chih Hsiao1, Yao-Chuan Lee2, Ke-Ching Chen1, Wei-Cheng Ye1, Khajornsak Sopajaree3, Ying I. Tsai3,4

1 Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Central University, Jhongli Dist., Taoyuan City 32001, Taiwan
2 Department of Safety, Health and Environmental Engineering, Tungnan University, New Taipei City 22202, Taiwan
3 Department of Environmental Engineering, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
4 Department of Environmental Engineering and Science, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Rende Dist., Tainan City 71710, Taiwan


  • Two portable particle size distribution analyzers were compared.
  • Comparison against a laboratory reference showed reasonable alignment.
  • The PAMS provides higher sizing resolution for monodisperse particles.
  • The PAMS low sampling rate offers the potential for error.
  • The NanoScan effectively extended its sizing range using an OPS.



Two portable, battery powered particle size distribution analyzers, TSI NanoScan scanning mobility particle sizer (TSI NanoScan SMPS 3910, USA) and Kanomax Portable Aerosol Mobility Spectrometer (Kanomax PAMS 3300, Japan), have been recently introduced to the market. Both are compact and allow researchers to rapidly measure and monitor ambient or indoor ultrafine and nanoparticles in real time. In addition, both instruments apply the SMPS measuring scheme, utilizing a corona charger in place of a radioactive neutralizer, and are integrated with a hand-held condensation particle counter (CPC). In this study, the different designs, flow schemes, and operational settings of both instruments have been summarized based on the information released by the manufacturers and the available published literature. The performance characteristics and monitoring capability of these two portable ultrafine to nanoparticle sizers were investigated and compared to a reference TSI 3936 lab-based SMPS under identical conditions. Reasonable agreement was found between the three instruments in terms of their efficiency in sizing and counting polydispersed particles. Of the two portable analyzers, PAMS was able to provide a higher sizing resolution for monodispersed particle measurements than NanoScan, when operated under the High Mode (higher sheath to aerosol flow ratio).



Keywords: Portable aerosol mobility spectrometer; SMPS; Ultrafine particle; Aerosol measurement; Nanoparticle exposure.



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