Evaluation of an automated EA-IRMS method for total carbon analysis of atmospheric aerosol at HEKAL

István Major, Brigitta Gyökös, Marianna Túri, István Futó, Ágnes Filep, András Hoffer, Enikő Furu, A. J. Timothy Jull, Mihály Molnár

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Comprehensive atmospheric studies have demonstrated that carbonaceous particles are one of the main components of atmospheric aerosols over Europe. The aim of our study was to establish an automated elemental analyser interfaced to a stable isotope mass spectrometer (EA-IRMS) method at the Hertelendi Laboratory of Environmental Studies (HEKAL), as a suitable method of quantification of total carbon mass in individual PM2.5 aerosol samples. Total carbon (TC) mass and simultaneous stable isotopic ratios were determined for both test standard and genuine aerosol samples. Finally, the results were compared to the ones obtained independently by an alternative sealed tube combustion method developed previously at HEKAL. The TC recovery tests of standard material prepared by the sealed tube method confirmed at least a carbon recovery yield of 92% for a broad range of carbon mass (100–2000 μg). The stable isotopic results confirmed that sealed tube method is reproducible and suitable to be used as a reference to verify our new EA-IRMS method. The EA-IRMS TC measurements of genuine aerosols gave on average 3% higher carbon recovery yield, relative to the uncorrected results of the sealed tube method. The comparison of the stable isotopic results by the two methods for aerosols also showed minimal differences. Consequently, the possibility of simultaneous TC and stable isotopic analyses makes the EA-IRMS method a very attractive alternative for continuous measurement of aerosols, with an accuracy and reliability similar to other commercial devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Atmospheric Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Elemental analyser
  • IRMS
  • PM
  • Stable isotopes
  • Total carbon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science


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