The Aethalometer® technology has been used in a variety of air monitoring applications where the real-time measurement of carbon particle mass concentration is necessary.
Black Carbon ("BC") is an anthroprogenic air pollutant and is emitted directly to the air through combustion of any carbon-based fuel source (diesel, coal, wood, tobacco, kerosene, etc).
Human exposure to black (or elemental) carbon particles has both long and short term effects. Black carbon, a known toxin and possible carcinogen, has been linked to a host of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, as well as premature hospitalization and death.
In addition to human exposure, carbon particles in the atmosphere contribute to global climate change by affecting albedo, cloud formation, and radiative transfer to the earth.
The Aethalometer technology provides continuous, real-time optical measurements at multiple wavelengths, helping to provide information about the type and sources of carbon particles existing in the air. There are a number of different aethalometer models available. The measurement method has an extremely wide dynamic range, with the capability of measuring the real-time mass concentrations of carbon particles from tens of nanograms per cubic meter to hundreds of milligrams per cubic meter.
A Rack Mount Aethalometer Model AE21 is installed in the Atmospheric Research Observatory or "Clean Air Building" at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica and is measuring some of the cleanest air on the planet.