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Method to Determine Collection Efficiency of Particles by Swipe Sampling



Jennifer R. Verkouteren, Jessica L. Staymates, Robert A. Fletcher, Wayne Smith, George A. Klouda, John G. Gillen


A methodology was developed to evaluate particle collection efficiencies from swipe sampling of trace residues. Swipe sampling is used for many applications where trace residues must be collected, including the evaluation of radioactive particle contamination and the analysis of explosives and contraband at screening checkpoints using Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS). Collection efficiencies were evaluated for micrometer-sized polystyrene latex (PSL) spheres with respect to particle size and mode of deposition, collection trap, surface type, and swiping force. Test surfaces containing particles were prepared under controlled conditions and swiped with a reproducible technique that allows for the evaluation of frictional forces. Collection efficiencies were determined by optical imaging and particle counting. Of the two IMS collection traps studied, the PTFE trap has significantly lower collection efficiencies. This is likely to be due to a combination of texture and composition. The larger 42 m diameter) particles are collected more efficiently than the smaller ( 9 m diameter) particles. Particles in a matrix similar to latent fingerprints are collected more efficiently than dry particles. Applying greater force during swiping does not greatly improve collection efficiencies. This fact coupled with the observation that many particles are detached but not collected, implies that improvements in collection efficiency are dependent on improvements in adhesion of the particles to the collection surface, rather than larger forces to detach the particles.
Measurement Science & Technology


explosives, IMS, ion mobility spectrometry, particle collection, swipe sampling


Verkouteren, J. , Staymates, J. , Fletcher, R. , Smith, W. , Klouda, G. and Gillen, J. (2008), Method to Determine Collection Efficiency of Particles by Swipe Sampling, Measurement Science & Technology, [online], (Accessed May 20, 2024)


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Created September 1, 2008, Updated February 17, 2017