Personal Air Sampling Device for Workers at Risk for Inhalation of Environmental Hazards

At a Glance

​Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a sampling device designed to collect particles within the respirable size range, without using a cyclone as a pre-separator, while having a direct reading capacitive sensor to measure the deposited particles in real time. These features are not available from currently used samplers and direct-reading instruments.


​Particulate matter (PM) is a mixture of particles and droplets in air comprising various compounds. PM exists everywhere, in various sizes, and some particles are toxic and respirable to humans. Some work environments have more dangerous respirable particles than others and can cause harmful effects to through inhalation. Miners in the mining environment are often exposed to higher levels of hazardous particles such as coal, silica (SiO2) and diesel exhaust. Continuous exposure to such particles can cause severe damage to the respiratory system.

Exposure to mine dust can cause coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease, which is very common in coal miners; it is reported that approximately 4,800 people in U.S. died because of CWP from 2005 to 2014. Workers mining minerals are at high risk for silicosis as they are exposed to mine dust containing high amounts of silica.

Accordingly, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that workers’ exposure to respirable coal mine dust should be limited to 1 mg/m3 and crystalline silica should be limited to 0.5 mg/m3 (up to 10 hours per day over a 40-hour work week). Yet, currently available respirable sampling methods are unable to accurately quantify this exposure. A higher resolution technique is required to detect sub-micron and nanoscale particulate matters (PM) due to smaller volume and mass of the particles.


  • Easy-to-use, disposable, real-time monitoring
  • Light weight and small – beneficial to workers wearing the personal sampling device on his/her person daily
  • Stable results
  • Suitable for long-term sampling at high concentrations
  • Capacitance sensing approach allow sampling substrate to be replaced daily
  • Higher resolution technique
  • Ability to detect smaller particles than any other commercially available device
Last Updated: April 2022

Available for Licensing

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Su-Jung (Candace) Tsai
Doosan Back
David Janes

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Aly Hoeher