Monday August 31st

Low-cost instrumentation for ultrafine particles

Martin Fierz

Co-founder and CEO of naneos particle solutions, Professor of Physics at University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland Windisch, Switzerland.


Research-grade instrumentation to measure ultrafine particles is traditionally complex, expensive and bulky, and therefore relatively little is known about the spatial variation of ultrafine particles on a finer scale. Similarly, studies on indoor or workplace exposure are often only performed for short periods of time in a few places and little is known about longer-term exposure of larger populations.
In recent years, decent low-cost optical sensors have become avaliable which have made PM measurements much more affordable. For ultrafine particles where the optical sensors fail, no cheap solutions are available today.
In my talk, I will discuss the state of the art of low-cost aerosol sensing, the potential for low-cost ultrafine particle sensing based on electrical detection, and some applications that arise from low-cost sensors

About the author:

Martin Fierz is co- founder and CEO of naneos particle solutions in Windisch, Switzerland. He is also a professor of Physics at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, where he worked for nearly 20 years on aerosol instrument development in the group of Professor Heinz Burtscher.

Martin’s main interest is the design of simple and small nanoparticle detectors, based on electrical charging and ultra-low-current detection. The instruments designed by his team (DiSCmini, Partector, Partector 2, automotive Partector)  are used in many different applications, such as occupational hygiene, health studies, ambient monitoring and vehicle emisssions testing.

Tuesday September 1st

Surface active organic aerosol: experiments, models, and atmospheric impact.

Nønne Prisle

Associate professor, University of Oulu. Head of Atmospheric Research (ATMOS) Group, Oulu, Finland


Surface active components have been identified in atmospheric aerosols from a wide range of environments and can significantly reduce aqueous surface tension, but their effects on aerosol properties and in particular cloud microphysics are not fully constrained. Surface tension is a key parameter in Köhler theory, but predicted size-dependent variations in finite-sized droplet surface tension compared to macroscopic solutions can introduce large variations in cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) activity and cloud radiative forcing. Over the last decades, we have studied aerosol surface activity via measured CCN activity and from the highly specific composition of aqueous solution surfaces observed with synchrotron radiation excited spectroscopy. Recently, we presented the first direct measurements of surface tension for finite-sized surfactant-containing droplets, showing that droplet surface tension is elevated in a manner consistent with thermodynamic predictions that account for size-dependent bulk/surface partitioning of surface active components, but over-estimated by the widely used Gibbsian adsorption models.

About the author:

Nønne Prisle leads the Atmospheric Research (ATMOS) group at University of Oulu, Finland. She is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow and currently PI of research projects funded by the European Research Council, Academy of Finland, and the Tiina and Antti Herlin foundation. Spearheaded by three complementary research teams specialized in novel synchrotron radiation based imaging and spectroscopic methods for aerosol characterization, quantum chemistry, classical thermodynamics, and atmospheric modeling, and artificial intelligence and machine learning, her research group focuses on unravelling properties of atmospheric aerosols from the molecular level to their global impacts, with a keen eye on the elusive role of surface active organics in atmospheric water.

Prof. Prisle obtained her B.Sc. in theoretical physics from University of Southern Denmark (2004), Ph.D. in chemistry from University of Copenhagen (2009), and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki University’s Division of Atmospheric Science (now INAR), and Georgia Institute of Technology. She is vice chair of the board of Finnish Synchrotron Users Organization (FSRUO), board member of the Finnish Association for Aerosol Research (FAAR) and spokesperson for atmospheric research at the Finnish-Estonian Beamline for Atmospheric and Materials Science (FinEstBeAMS) at the MAX IV synchrotron facility. She is a speaker of TEDxOulu – Arctic Matters (2020), keynote presenter at the Symposium for Climate Change and World Peace at the air Guitar World Championship (2019), and co-contributor to the graphic novel “Little Things” about her research.

Wednesday September 2nd

Indoor particles – their physicochemical properties and toxicity

Aneta Wierzbicka

Associate Professor at the Division of Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology, Lund University, Sweden


In developed countries, we are mainly exposed to the air inside buildings as we spend 90% of the time indoors. Due to virus outbreaks and heat waves, we are likely to spend even more time indoors. Indoors, multitude of pollutants both of outdoor and indoor origin occur, mix and transform. Focus on energy use minimization and protection from outdoor pollution has made the buildings more airtight and frequently ventilation has been reduced. This in turn causes build-up of pollutants in confined indoor spaces. What do we know about aerosol particles in indoor environments? Is their fate and behaviour different in comparison to atmospheric processes? A real time aerosol mass spectrometry (AMS) has been used in atmospheric studies for years and have led to substantial advances in understanding of aerosol transformations and atmospheric processes. Only recently AMS has started to be used for measurements in indoor environments. What have we learned from these studies?  What do we know about toxicity of particles found indoors? In this talk we will go through the recent findings, knowledge gaps and major challenges in studies about aerosols in indoor environments, i.e. the area of research that has started to accelerate rapidly.

About the Author:

Aneta Wierzbicka is Associate Professor at the Division of Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology at Lund University in Sweden and coordinator of the Centre for Healthy Indoor Environments at Lund University. Her research focuses on methodology and instrumentation for detailed airborne particle characterization and assessment of human exposure to airborne particles specifically in indoor environments. She brings aerosol measurement techniques into the relatively unexplored indoor environments. Her special interest lies in transdisciplinary studies assessing health effect of exposure to particles. Aneta coordinated several human chamber exposures studies investigating mechanisms behind observed health effect.

Aneta graduated from Wrocław University of Technology in Poland and University of Birmingham in United Kingdom. She completed her PhD in 2008 in aerosol technology at Lund University. Aneta obtained a Marie Skłodowska Curie postdoctoral scholarship, which she spent at the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy at Technical University of Denmark. She is an active member in both European Aerosol Assembly and International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ). She has served as a president of the Swedish chapter of ISIAQ.

Thursday September 3rd

Vapour interactions with particles: their control of atmospheric aerosol loadings and Impacts.

Gordon McFiggans

Professor of Multiphase Processes at the University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kindom

Aerosols are a nuisance. Not only does light extinction by particles interfere with optical measurement of gas phase molecular absorbers, but these vapours themselves frequently interact with the particles either reactively or via unreactive phase transitions. The most abundant semi-volatile material in the moist atmosphere is water vapour and consequently its mass flux between the phases has the most profound impact on atmospheric aerosol particles, largely determining their abundance, loading, lifetime, fate and impacts. In his talk, Gordon will provide a perspective on the interactions of particles with vapours in the chemically complex moist atmosphere and present some insights into how the mixtures of vapours not only lead to changes in particle loading, but into changes in their influence on cloud properties and ultimately their climate impacts.

About the author

Gordon McFiggans and his atmospheric research group at the University of Manchester conduct lab, field and modelling studies broadly investigating the interactions of aerosol with vapours. Multiphase processes in the atmosphere determine the loadings, lifetimes and impacts of aerosol. In the ambient atmosphere, particle interaction with water vapour, the most abundant semi-volatile vapour, plays a controlling role in particle size, lifetime and both direct scattering and indirect radiative forcing through cloud droplet formation. Condensation of less abundant inorganic and organic vapours controls formation of new particles and aerosol transformations throughout their atmospheric lifetimes. Most importantly, recent developments indicate that the evolution of multicomponent aerosol in real mixtures in the oxidising atmosphere is not readily simplified. Gordon’s research aims to unravel some of the driving influences for aerosol transformations in the complex mixtures of the moist atmosphere.

Gordon started his academic life as an Engineer, obtaining a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sheffield (1987), returning after a stint in industry to complete his MSc in Environmental Pollution Control from the University of Leeds (1995) before completing a PhD in Marine Boundary Layer Chemistry from the University of East Anglia (2000). After a NERC Fellowship developing a coupled gas-aerosol modelling framework (and building a smog chamber in his spare time), he has developed a research group at the University of Manchester investigating a broad range of atmospheric Problems.

Friday September 4th

Health effects of air pollution – what happens at low levels?

Barbara Hoffmann

Professor for Environmental Medicine at the Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, Centre for Health and Society Germany

Epidemiological cohort studies have consistently found associations between long-term exposure to outdoor air pollution and a range of morbidity and mortality endpoints. Recent evaluations by the World Health Organization and others have suggested that these associations may may persist at concentrations below current regulatory standards and guidelines. To investigate this, several large-scale studies have been conducted very recently, specifically examining the dose-response relationship at levels below regulatory limit values. This presentation will present some the most recent results and their consequence for prevention and public health.
About the Author:

Barbara Hoffmann graduated from the Medical School of Aachen, Germany, in 1993, where she also received a doctoral degree in Lung Physiology in 1996. She worked in Pulmonary and Internal Medicine before she studied Public Health and received an MPH from the School of Public Health in Bielefeld, Germany. From 2001 to 2011, she worked at the Institute of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology, Medical School of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, where she founded and developed the Unit of Environmental Epidemiology and Clinical Epidemiology. Since 2011 she is Professor of Environmental Epidemiology at the Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, Germany. Her research focuses on the investigation of acute and chronic cardiopulmonary, metabolic and neurological health effects of air pollution and noise. She specifically examines potential biological pathways of action and investigates the role of multiple exposures and their interactions in causing acute and chronic disease, using epidemiological methods.