Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Michael Vineyard




aerosols, analysis, elemental, collected, matter


A comparative study of atmospheric aerosols was performed on samples collected in Schenectady, NY using Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) spectroscopy. PIXE is an elemental analysis technique used to measure the elemental concentration of a sample. This is part of a systematic study to identify the sources and understand the transport, transformation, and e˙ects of airborne pollutants and the connection between aerosols, the deposition of pollution, and the uptake of pollutants by wildlife and vegetation. The atmo-spheric aerosols were collected with a nine-stage cascade impactor that allows for the analysis of the particulate matter as a function of particle size. The samples were bombarded with 2-MeV proton beams from the Union College Pelletron Accelerator and the energy spectra of the X-rays were measured with a silicon drift detector. The X-ray spectra were analyzed using GUPIX software to extract the elemental concentrations of the particulate matter. The sample collection and analysis are described, and results are presented.

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