The health effects of aerosol depend on the size distribution and the chemical composition of the particles. Heavy metals of anthropogenic origin are bound to the fine aerosol fraction (PM2.5). The composition and speciation of aerosol particles can be variable in time, due to the time-dependence of anthropogenic sources as well as meteorological conditions. Synchrotron-radiation total reflection X-ray fluorescence (SR-TXRF) provides very high sensitivity for characterization of atmospheric particulate matter. X-ray absorption nearedge structure (XANES) spectrometry in conjunction with TXRF detection can deliver speciation information on heavy metals in aerosol particles collected directly on the reflector surface. The suitability of TXRF-XANES for copper and zinc speciation in size-fractionated atmospheric particulate matter from a short sampling period is presented. For high size resolution analysis, atmospheric aerosol particles were collected at different urban and rural locations using a 7-stage May cascade impactor having adapted for sampling on Si wafers. The thin stripe geometry formed by the particulate matter deposited on the May-impactor plates is ideally suited to SR-TXRF. Capabilities of the combination of the May-impactor sampling and TXRF-XANES measurements at HASYLAB Beamline L to Cu and Zn speciation in size-fractionated atmospheric particulate matter are demonstrated. Information on Cu and Zn speciation could be performed for elemental concentrations as low as 140 pg/m3. The Cu and Zn speciation in the different size fraction was found to be very distinctive for samples of different origin. Zn and Cu chemical state typical for soils was detected only in the largest particles studied (2–4 μm fraction). The fine particles, however, contained the metals of interest in the sulfate and nitrate forms.
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