Get Adobe Flash player



Aix Marseille University has implemented an instrumental platform (platform St Charles) which consists of six actions. The instrumentation provided within this platform offers to a user community (scientific and industrial community) access to high level technological resources.
One of these actions consists of the instrumentation of a mobile laboratory dedicated to online analysis of aerosol particles and volatile organic compounds in both indoor and outdoor environments (MASSALYA). The mobile unit (< 3.5 T) is implemented with very high technology analyzers (PTR- ToF -MS , HR- ToF –AMS, TAG ... ). The instrumentation can be easily unistalled from the mobile van and installed indoors for laboratory experiments.




Description of the instrumentation

The instrumentation of the MASSALYA platform allows the physical and the chemical characterizations of aerosol particles and volatile organic compounds (VOC). This characterization is done in nearly real time on a time scale ranging from few seconds to 30 min.


MASSALYA Equipments :

- PTR-ToF-MS (Proton Transfert Reaction-Time of Flight-Mass Spetrometer) for the analysis of VOCs. The PTR-TOFMS technology allows to analyze a whole mass spectrum in a split second and even isobaric species can be resolved and identified with virtually no instrumental mass range limitation and a linearity range over six orders of magnitude. This instrument allows the simultaneous analysis of a large number of VOC at the ppt level. The temporal resolution can reach few seconds in some environments. It is equipped with SRI module ( Selective Ionization Reagent ) which enables the analysis through different ionization modes (ie. H3O+, O2+ and NO+) [more details]

- HR-ToF-AMS (High Resolution-Time of Flight-Aerosol Mass Spectrometer) for the analysis of organic and inorganic aerosol particles. This is the only currently available  instrument capable of providing quantitative size and chemical mass loading information in real-time for non-refractory sub-micron aerosol particles. The AMS couples size-resolved particle sampling and mass spectrometric techniques into a single real-time measurement system. The High-Resolution ToF AMS (HR-ToF-AMS) also enables continuous acquisition of complete mass spectra of individual particles, and enables the resolution of distinct chemical species based on mass defect. [more details]

- TAG (Thermal desorption Aerosol Gas chromatograph) for analysis of the organic fraction of the aerosol at the molecular level. The TAG is, here, associated with the AMS. The combined TAG-AMS instrument shares the same electron impact ion source and HR-Tof-MS for analysis of the atmospheric aerosol constituents.  While atmospheric aerosols are measured using the HR-ToF-AMS to provide mass spectral analysis of the total organic aerosol, aerosol is collected simultaneously in the integrated collection and thermal desorption (CTD) cell of the TAG instrument.  The collected aerosol sample is subsequently desorbed from the CTD cell, chromatographically separated, and introduced into the AMS electron impact ionization region for analysis.  The combination of hourly time resolved TAG measurements with the complementary AMS measurements provides mass spectral analysis of the total organic aerosol (AMS) and concurrent detailed molecular level analysis (TAG). TAG- AMS allows the analysis of nonpolar and slightly polar compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( PAHs ) , the hopanes / steranes , alkanes , alkenes , phthalates , some pesticides , etc. . The high sensitivity of the instrument allows a temporal resolution of approximately 1h . [more details]


A new online derivatization system using a helium flow saturated with MSTFA extended the analysis range to highly polar compounds such as secondary compounds from biogenic or anthropogenic origin and organic markers from biomass burning ( levoglucosan , manosan , methoxy phenols) . The online derivatization system is a collaborative development between Aerosol Dynamics Inc. , the group of Pr. Allen Goldstein (Univ Berkeley, CA) and the LCE.

- LAAPToF (Laser Ablation Aerosol Particle Time-of-Flight) for the qualitative analysis of the single aerosol particle. This new single particles analyser is capable of analyzing aerosol particles in the range of 70 nm to 2500 nm , and provides information on both particle size and chemical signature. The LAAPToF is an instrument of the national NaNO-ID platform [more details]

- MAAP 5012 (Multi Angle Absorption Photometer) for the analysis of Black Carbon. MAAP measures the aerosol-related absorption of light and the corresponding atmospheric black carbon mass concentration. Continuous data is provided by a multiple detector setup to simultaneously measure the transmitted and the scattered light from a particle-loaded filter. Typical applications include determining ambient elemental carbon for health-related effects and aerosol light absorption for visibility monitoring (regional haze) and climate reasearch. [more details]

- SMPS (Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer) for the size distribution of submicron aerosol particles. [more details]

- Ozone analyser (O3).

- NOx (NO, NO2) analyser. based on chemiluminescence detection. This method is an extremely selective method for measuring nitrogen oxides precisely, with high linearity over a wide concentration range and with very high reproducibility. The analysers (CLD88P and  PLC 860) are particularly adapted to low NOx concentrations. [more details]


- Weather station (wind speed and direction, T, RH)

The MASSALYA platform relies on scientific and technical skills of the LCE-IRA research team. Studies requested by the platform partners (research laboratories, industry and local authorities ...) can be organized and implemented in collaborations with LCE-IRA group which may , if necessary , implement additional experimental means.



Terms of use and costs

- Terms of use (French)

- Costs (french)



Université d'Aix-Marseille
Laboratoire Chimie Environnement (UMR 7376)
Équipe instrumentation et Réactivité Atmosphérique
Campus St Charles
3, place Victor Hugo - Case 29
13331 MARSEILLE Cedex 3

Professeur Henri Wortham
Tel : 33 (0)4 13 55 10 39
Fax : 33 (0)4 13 55 10 60

Nicolas Marchand
Tel : 33 (0)4 13 55 10 51
Fax : 33 (0)4 13 55 10 60

Brice Temime-Roussel
Ingenieur Plateforme
Tel : 33 (0)4 13 55 10 53
Fax : 33 (0)4 13 55 10 60



Publications MASSALYA

Bartolomei V., Sörgel M., Gligorovski S., Gomez Alvarez E., Gandolfo A., Strekowski R., Quivet E., Held A., Zetzsch C., Wortham H. Formation of indoor nitrous acid (HONO) by light-induced NO2 heterogeneous reactions with white wall paint. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res., DOI:10.1007/s11356-014-2836-5, 2014.


Platt S.M., El Haddad I., Pieber S.M., Huang R.J., Zardini A.A., Clairotte M., Suarez-Bertoa R., Barmet P., Pfaffenberger L., Wolf R., Slowik J.G., Fuller S.J., Kalberer M., Chirico R., Dommen J., Astorga C., Zimmermann R., Marchand N., Hellebust S., Temime-Roussel B., Baltensperger U., Prévôt A.S.H. Two-stroke scooters are a dominant source of air pollution in many cities. Nat. Commun., 13, 5, 3749. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4749.


Crippa M., Canonaco F., Slowik J.G., El Haddad I., DeCarlo P.F., Mohr C., Heringa M.F., Chirico R., Marchand N., Temime-Roussel B., Abidi E., Poulain L., Wiedensohler A., Baltensperger U., Prévôt A.S.H. Primary and secondary organic aerosol origin by combined gas-particle phase source apportionment. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 8411-8426, 2013.


Gómez Alvarez E., Amedro D., Afif C., Gligorovski S., Schoemacker C., Fittschen C., Doussin J.F., Wortham H. Unexpectedly high indoor hydroxyl radical concentrations associated with nitrous acid. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 110(33), 13294-13299, 2013.


Platt S.M., El Haddad I., Zardini A.A., Clairotte M., Astorga C., Wolf R., Slowik J.G., Temime-Roussel B., Marchand N., Ježek I., Drinovec L., Mocnik G., Möhler O., Richter R., Barmet P., Bianchi F., Baltensperger U., Prévôt A.S.H. Secondary organic aerosol formation from gasoline vehicle emissions in a new mobile environmental reaction chamber. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 9141-9158, 2013.


Vesin A., Quivet E., Temime-Roussel B., Wortham H. Indoor transfluthrin concentration levels during and after application of electric vaporizers using a Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometer. Atmos. Environ., 65, 123-128, 2013.


Vesin A., Glorennec P., Le Bot B., Wortham H., Bonvallot N, Quivet E. Transfluthrin indoor air concentration and inhalation exposure during application of electric vaporizers. Environ. Inter., 60, 1-6, 2013.


Dolgorouky C., Gros V., Sarda-Esteve R., Sinha V., Williams J., Marchand N., Sauvage S., Poulain L., Sciare J., Bonsang B. Total OH reactivity measurements in Paris during the 2010 MEGAPOLI winter campaign. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 9593-9612, 2012.

MASSALYA (click for more pictures)





Publications using MASSALYA results are requested to include an acknowledgement of MASSALYA Plateform (Aix Marseille Université)


Appropriate version recommended:

The authors gratefully acknowledge the MASSALYA instrumental plateform (Aix Marseille Université, for the provision of analysis and measurements used in this publication.


For presentation in a conference the authors are requested to include the MASSALYA logo.