A prototype personal aerosol sampler based on electrostatic precipitation and electrowetting-on-dielectric actuation of droplets

T. G. Foat, W. J. Sellors, M. D. Walker, P. A. Rachwal, J. W. Jones, D. D. Despeyroux, L. Coudron, I. Munro, D. K. McCluskey, C. K L Tan, M. C. Tracey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
144 Downloads (Pure)


An electrostatic precipitator (ESP) based personal sampler with a laboratory based electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) concentrator could provide a high concentration rate personal aerosol sampler system. A prototype system has been developed based on the concept of a lightweight personal ESP collecting aerosol particles onto a hydrophobic surface followed by the use of an EWOD actuated droplet system to transfer the deposited sample into a microlitre size water droplet.A personal sampler system could provide military or civilian personnel with a wide area biological monitoring capability supplying information on who has been infected, what they have been infected with, how much material they were exposed to and possibly where and when they were infected. Current commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) personal sampler solutions can be bulky and use volumes of water to extract the sample that are typically a thousand times greater than the proposed method.Testing of the prototype ESP at a sample flow rate of 5Lmin-1 demonstrated collection efficiencies greater than 80% for sodium fluorescein particles larger than 4μm diameter and of approximately 50% at 1.5μm. The ESP-EWOD system collection efficiency measured for Bacillus atrophaeus (BG) spores with an air sample flow rate of 20L min-1 was 2.7% with a concentration rate of 1.9×105 min-1. This was lower than expected due to the corona ions from the ESP affecting the hydrophobicity of the collection surface and hence the EWOD efficiency. However, even with this low efficiency the concentration rate is more than an order of magnitude higher than the theoretical maximum of the best current COTS personal sampler. For an optimised system, ESP-EWOD system efficiency should be higher than 32% with a comparable increase in concentration rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-53
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
Early online date23 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Aerosol collection
  • Electrostatic precipitator
  • Electrowetting-on-dielectric
  • EWOD
  • Personal sampler


Dive into the research topics of 'A prototype personal aerosol sampler based on electrostatic precipitation and electrowetting-on-dielectric actuation of droplets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this