Application of thin-window EPMA to environmental problems in Hungary

János Osán, Sándor Kurunczi, Szabina Török, Anna Worobiec, René van Grieken

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2 Citations (Scopus)


The combination of single-particle analysis using thin-window EPMA and a reverse Monte Carlo quantification procedure has been proven to provide semi-quantitative elemental concentrations, including light elements. The capabilities of the method are demonstrated through three different environmental applications in Hungary. Lake Balaton is the largest lake in central Europe. It is suspected that the atmosphere is an important source of environmental deterioration of the Lake, relative to the pollutant supply by rivers and direct discharges. Thin-window EPMA results of around 25,000 individual particles indicated that the composition of the aerosol did not show characteristic seasonal variation, it was more correlated to the daily meteorological circumstances. A serious heavy metal pollution of the river Tisza occurred on 10 March 2000, from a mine-dumping site in Romania. Sediment samples were taken from the main riverbed at six sites, on 16 March 2000. In some of the samples, pyrite type particles were observed in high abundance, revealing their dumping-site origin. Biomass burning for energy production has been increased recently, mostly in households and for space heating. Fly-ash and bottom-ash samples were collected at a 600 kW heating plant at Szo{double acute}dliget during standard winter operation. Most particles contained over 65% of unburned organic substance. The concentrations of major elements were obtained for each individual particle using thin-window EPMA, providing accurate matrix composition for further μ-XRF investigations of the trace element composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-117
Number of pages7
JournalMicrochimica Acta
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2002



  • Aerosol
  • Heavy metal pollution
  • Individual particle analysis
  • Sediment
  • Thin-window EPMA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry

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