Chemical boundary conditions for the classification of aerosol particles using computer controlled electron probe microanalysis
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Talanta : the international journal of pure and applied analytical chemistry. - Oxford, 1958, currens
, p. 420-427
University of Antwerp
A method for the classification of individual aerosol particles using computer controlled electron probe microanalysis is presented. It is based on chemical boundary conditions (CBC) and enables quick and easy processing of a large set of elemental concentration data (mass%), derived from the X-ray spectra of individual particles. The particles are first classified into five major classes (sea salt related, secondary inorganic, minerals, iron-rich and carbonaceous), after which advanced data mining can be performed by examining the elemental composition of particles within each class into more detail (e.g., by ternary diagrams). The CBC method is validated and evaluated by comparing its results with the output obtained with hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) for well-known standard particles as well as real aerosol particles collected with a cascade impactor. The CBC method gives reliable results and has a major advantage compared to HCA. CBC is based on boundary conditions that are derived from chemical logical thinking and does not require a translation of a mathematical algorithm output as does HCA. Therefore, the CBC method is more objective and enables comparison between samples without intermediate steps.