Public Lab Research note

Sample prep for Passive Particle Monitors

by mathew , AmberWise | July 11, 2016 21:04 11 Jul 21:04 | #13280 | #13280

Left to Right: Cap with Mesh, Aluminum SEM stub to hold sample, 0-80 x 1/4" screws, glass coverslip. Photo: @AmberWise

This post describes @AmberWise's procedures and lessons-learned in cleaning and assembling a passive particle monitor slide, part of ongoing work to replicate the UNC passive particle monitor.

Cleaning Mesh Cap & SEM Stub

TBA scotch magic tape on top of mesh cap


Coverslip prep and sealing

This same procedure should be used for cleaning slides before analysis.

Holding the glass coverslip with tweezers, clean by rinsing with ethanol or isopropyl alcohol:


Still holding with tweezers, Dry with a low-lint wipe such as a KimWipe(TM) or lens paper. Bathroom tissue and paper towels are too dusty.


With a fine tip marker, draw a small dot on the edge of the coverslip to aid in focusing the microscope on the upper side of the coverslip.


Place cleaned coverslip inside the mesh cap. Orient the coverslip so that the dot is facing towards the mesh of the cap,


place SEM stub on slide cover and use small screws to secure it in place:


Place covered stub within a polystyrene cup and cover with another cup to keep clean until deployment.

deployment-ready monitor

more on deployment


Notes on Cleaning Glass

We compared two different methods for cleaning-- cleaning with alcohol, and cleaning with compressed air for electronics cleaning. The compressed air method left particles on the slide, potentially from propellant chemicals:


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