Photoacoustic Spectrometer for Real-Time Dust Monitoring


Occupational hazard from respirable crystalline silica (RCS) particulates in the air can lead to silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and kidney disease. Construction, demolition, mining, sandblasting, quarrying, tunneling, ceramics, foundries, stone cutters, stone countertops, refractory brick production, tombstone, oil & gas industry, pottery working, fiberglass manufacturing, glass manufacturing, and flint knapping are the activities and industries with high risk of workers’ RCS exposure. Based on OSHA respirable crystalline silica standard, employees’ exposure must be at or below the permissible exposure limit (PEL), which is 50 µg/m3 of respirable crystalline silica averaged over an 8-hour work day.


A real-time silica monitoring approach is necessary to indicate the efficiency of the engineering practices for RCS concentration controls in industry settings.  Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno utilized quantum cascade laser (QCL) with photoacoustic instrumentation to determine the mass concentration of RCS dust in real-time. Current prototype has focused on measuring silica, coal dust, and kaolinite dust for mining environments.  


  • Real-time particulate measurement
  • Able to measure respirable crystalline silica (RCS) concentration
  • System can account for different particulates such as RCS, kaolinite, coal, and calcite.
  • No filter required meaning less maintenance

Patent & Literature


Contact Information

TTO Home Page:

Name: Ray Siripirom

Title: Senior Licensing Associate