Investigation of airborne molecular contamination in cleanroom air environment through portable soft x-ray radiolysis detector

Changhyuk Kim, Kyungil Cho, David Y.H. Pui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Airborne molecular contamination (AMC) represents a wide range of gaseous contaminants in the cleanroom air environment. It is difficult to monitor AMC in the cleanroom air using conventional methods in real-time due to its ultra-low concentrations, such as part-per-billion or-trillion (ppb or ppt). In this study, AMC in the real university cleanroom air environment was investigated to figure out hot spots through portable soft X-ray radiolysis detector, which converts gaseous AMC into nanoparticles (gas-to-particle conversion) under the soft X-ray irradiation. A soft X-ray was connected to a clean stainless steel chamber to convert the introduced AMC into nanoparticles, and the size distributions of nanoparticles were measured through a scanning mobility particle sizer, which consists of a differential mobility analyzer and a condensation particle counter. By converting the size distribution information into total particle volume concentrations, equivalent AMC concentrations can be calculated using an appropriate calibration curve between AMC and the total particle volume concentration. The volume concentration of nanoparticles were converted into an equivalent sulfur dioxide (SO2, a major acidic AMC in the cleanroom air) concentration by a calibration curve between SO2 and the particle volume concentrations. AMC levels at different locations in the cleanroom at the University of Minnesota were measured by the soft X-ray-assisted AMC detector, and revealed that several tenth-order of pptV (lower than 15 pptV) in terms of the equivalent SO2 concentration existed in the cleanroom air environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number978
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a 2-year Research Grant of Pusan National University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the author.


  • Airborne molecular contamination (AMC)
  • Cleanroom air quality
  • Nanoparticle
  • Portable gas detector
  • Soft X-ray radiolysis


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