- Model AE51 - Pocket-Sized Black Carbon Aerosol Monitor


The microAeth AE51 is a real-time, pocket-sized Black Carbon aerosol monitor. This palm-size instrument is small enough to be worn on-person and provides aerosol Black Carbon concentration in real-time. The microAeth incorporates the same Aethalometer® measurement technology which has been used worldwide for over 30 years.

The device is a self-contained instrument with built-in pump, flow control, data storage, and battery designed for on-person exposure monitoring.

The instrument can operate continuously for up to 24 hours on a single battery charge. The air sample is collected on T60 (Teflon coated glass fiber) filter media. The filter media is housed in an easy to replace filter strip for simple handling in the field.

The microAeth AE51 has been used to take measurements of cookstoves, tobacco smoke exposure as well as on planes, trains, bicycles, UAVs, and weather balloons.

  • Measurement Principle: Real-time analysis by measuring the rate of change in absorption of transmitted light due to continuous collection of aerosol deposit on filter. Measurement at 880 nm interpreted as concentration of Black Carbon (‘BC’).
  • Measurement Range: 0-1 mg BC/m3, filter life time dependent on concentration and flow rate setting: avg. 5 μg BC/m3 for 24 hours @ 100 mL/min avg. 100 μg BC/m3 for 3 hours @ 50 mL/min avg. 1 mg BC/m3 for 15 min @ 50 mL/min
  • Measurement Resolution: 0.001 μg BC/m3
  • Measurement Precision: ±0.1 μg BC/m3, 1 min avg., 150 mL/min flow rate
  • Measurement Timebase (User setting): 1 second, 1 minute or 5 minute
  • Flow Rate (User setting): Internal pump provides 50, 100, or 150 mL/min, monitored by mass flow meter and stabilized by closed-loop control.
  • Sampling: 3 mm spot created on filter strip containing insert of T60 Teflon-coated borosilicate glass fiber filter material. PM2.5 size selective inlet available.
  • Consumables: Filter strip: 1 filter strip per sampling event, typically one per day.
  • Data Storage: 4 MB internal flash memory, providing up to 1 month data storage when operating on a 5 minute timebase, and 1 week when operating on a 1 minute timebase.
  • Communications: USB connectivity to Windows®-based PC with microAethCOM, or data stream via digital output through mini USB port (command protocols can be supplied).
  • Data Output: Internal data files are uploaded to microAethCOM PC software and stored on local disk.
  • PC Software: microAethCOM software is included. Provides visual interface including real-time BC mass concentration values. Facilitates settings configuration, calibration routines, downloading data, and uploading new instrument firmware.
  • Dimensions: 4.6 in (117 mm) L x 2.6 in (66 mm) W x 1.5 in (38 mm) D
  • Weight: Approximately 0.62 lbs (280 g).
  • Power: Internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
  • Power Supply Adapter: Input: 100~240 VAC 50/60 Hz 0.2 A Output: 5VDC / 0.5A
  • Charging Time: 4 hours to full charge (using AC adapter, instrument turned off ).
  • Total Run Time (single battery charge): Minimum 24 hours @ 5 minute time base at 100 mL/min flow rate.
  • Operation Environment: 0 ~ 40 °C operating, non-condensing.


Personal Exposure Monitoring
Black Carbon is a primary component of Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM). Exposure to Black Carbon occurs when people breathe in smoke and fumes from traffic-related exhaust. Exposure is particularly hazardous to human health because the Black Carbon particles are very small in size (smaller than one micron or about 1:170 the size of a human hair) and have an active surface which attracts gases and other particle phase toxins. These tiny particles penetrate deep into the lungs, carrying a host of the other toxic materials which are present in smoke and vehicle exhaust.

In the past, scientific studies about Black Carbon have been limited to advanced research groups interested identifying the specific chemical components of fine and ultrafine particle mass. These scientific studies have proven that exposure to diesel particulate matter, and specifically Black Carbon, is hazardous to human health, causing cardiovascular disease, exposure-related asthma, premature hospitalization and death. The results of these studies have demonstrated the need for increased monitoring of Black Carbon, covering a much broader, more representative area to monitoring people's exposure to traffic-related pollutants.

Analysis in the near-UV (370nm) provides information on the presence of aromatic organic compounds such as tobacco smoke, wood smoke, and other hazardous pollutant species.


In many places around the world, Black Carbon from inefficient indoor cookstoves causes millions of premature deaths every year. The microAeth can be used to monitor these emissions in order to improve cookstoves and other combustion sources so that Black Carbon emissions can be significantly reduced, having a positive impact on public health and the climate.


Indoor Air Quality
In the indoor environment, the microAeth is used to monitor the infiltration and trapping of emissions in a building as well as the production and circulation of internal emissions (ie. diesel exhaust from buses into schools). HVAC control efficiency can be determined and maintained using real-time measurement technology.


Vertical Profiling
The microAeth is well suited for making vertical profile measurements of Black Carbon in the atmosphere. As a small, lightweight and fully self contained instrument, the microAeth can be easily integrated into an existing balloon payload, or onto unmanned aerial vehicles (AUVs). These measurements can help to model the distribution of Black Carbon in different atmospheric layers.

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