Positive sampling artifacts of organic carbon fractions for fine particles and nanoparticles in a tunnel environment

Chong Shu Zhu, Chuen Jinn Tsai, Sheng Chieh Chen, Jun Ji Cao, Gwo Dong Roam

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22 Scopus citations


The positive artifacts in particulate organic carbon fractions for fine particles (PM 2.5) and nanoparticles (PM 0.1) were characterized in a tunnel environment by using the QBQ (a quartz filter behind a quartz filter) method. The OC concentrations of the backup quartz filters ranged from 3.56 to 11.38μgm -3 with the average of 6.70μgm -3 for PM 2.5, and from 2.62 to 7.27μgm -3 with the average of 4.64μgm -3 for PM 0.1. The most abundant species on the backup quartz filters was OC1 for both PM 2.5 and PM 0.1, accounting for 56.9% and 41.1% of the measured organic carbon, respectively. Most of EC fractions (EC1-EC3) on the backup filters for PM 2.5 and PM 0.1 were below the minimum detection limit. Therefore, only OC contributed to positive artifacts distinctly with the average percentage of 21.7% and 48.0% for PM 2.5 and PM 0.1, respectively. The artifacts for four organic carbon fractions ranged from 36.1% (OC1) to 4.4% (OC4) for PM 2.5 and from 68.0% (OC1) to 31.9% (OC4) for PM 0.1. The uncorrected OC/EC ratios on the front quartz filters were higher by as much as 30% and 107% for PM 2.5 and PM 0.1 than those corrected for positive organic artifacts, respectively. That is, much higher percentage of positive artifacts was found for PM 0.1 OC fractions on the front filters. The comparison of the present and previous studies shows that OC positive artifacts vary widely among various PM fractions and sampling sites attributing to many factors that are worth investigating in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Taiwan EPA ( EPA-98-U1U1-02-103, U1U1-02-106 ), and projects from SKLLQG, Institute of Earth Environment, CAS ( O951041120 ).


  • Organic carbon
  • PM
  • PM
  • Positive artifacts
  • Tunnel


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