Characterization of a novel particle into liquid sampler for analysis of single fluorescent aerosol particles through capillary electrophoresis

Hao Tang, Scott Hiemstra, Jonathan E. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


An approach to sample and analyze single aerosolized droplets (<10. nL) of solutions containing fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) labeled glycine (GLY) and glutamic acid (GLU) is demonstrated. The sampling approach is based on inertial impaction in which the sample particle is accelerated through a nozzle and directly into a small drop of buffered solution (20 mM borate, pH = 10) suspended at the end of a coaxial tube of stainless steel and a fused silica capillary. A spherical light scattering cell and laser (λ = 532 nm) is used to detect the arrival of particles at the buffered droplet. Upon dissolution and/or mixing, a portion of the sample is injected onto the fused silica capillary for subsequent chemical analysis by capillary electrophoresis (CE) and detection by laser-induced fluorescence (LIF). It was found that the inertial impaction approach sampled particles >1. μm diameter with an efficiency of 80% or greater. At 15 kV applied potential, the FITC conjugates of GLY and GLU could be resolved in less than 120 s allowing qualitative analysis of the contents of single dispersed particles. However, the extent to which the sample is diluted into the buffer droplet varied significantly on a per-particle basis that caused >80% R.S.D. in fluorescence peak heights. This aspect of the method would necessitate the use of internal standards for quantitative analysis of materials present within the particles. It is envisaged that further improvements to the device described may ultimately lead to analysis of the contents of single particles dispersed in earth's atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-126
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 19 2011


  • Aerosol analysis
  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • Particle into liquid sampling
  • Single particle analysis


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