PTR-MS and Indoor Air Research

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Indoor air quality research continues to grow substantially over the last several years. Most research prior to the 2010’s was focused on outdoor emission sources, rather than the indoor air; with people spending almost 90% of their indoors, indoor air quality has a severe impact on people’s health. A specifically problematic aspect air monitoring within buildings is how widely spread the different types of volatile chemicals are that surround us, and the difficulty of tracking them to their sources.

Dr. Antonios Tasoglou with Purdue students and PTR-MS.
Dr. Antonios Tasoglou with Purdue students and PTR-MS.

A proton transfer reaction mass spectrometer, or PTR-MS, is an instrument that is ideally suited for the detection, classification and quantification of a large array of unknown volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Since it works continuously and in real-time, scientists can observe trends and responses very quickly while monitoring in the field. This instrument was previously used for some aspects of indoor air monitoring, such as emissions of building materials, or determining causes for “sick building syndrome.”

Recently, RJ Lee Group (RJLG) teamed up with researchers at academic laboratories to investigate the impacts of normal living conditions on air quality. A study driven by Professor Brandon Boor from Purdue University, worked to identify VOC sources and to investigate particulate matter formation within a model office environment. The model office was life-sized and inhabited by people over multiple weeks, leading to a controlled environment that provided deep insights into the particle formation within a common living space. The instrumentation used to monitor VOC variations was RJLG’s PTR-TOF-MS instrument. RJLG and Prof. Boor have been invited to present their research findings in three presentations at the upcoming American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) conference.

In a follow-up study, Professor Philip Stevens from Indiana University conducted equivalent studies in collaboration with RJLG and Purdue University. They used a suite of state-of-the-art instrumentation, again involving RJLG’s PTR-TOF-MS, in order to study the interferences between the outdoor and indoor air within a controlled indoor environment. The results of these studies will be presented at conferences in 2020 and in peer-reviewed publications.
For more information on the PTR-MS, please contact us by clicking on the button below.

Contact Antonios Tasoglou
To learn more about this study:

Read Purdue’s article by clicking here.

The American Association of Advancement of Science (AAAS) publishes the EurekaAlert! Website, and also reported on this study here.

The World Economic Forum’s article on Purdue’s study is here.

The study has even picked up by the media in New Zealand here.

For a quick video created by the National Science Foundation, go to 1:10 at this Youtube link.