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Research units

Aerosol Physics and Metrology Laboratory (LPMA)


The Aerosol Physics and Metrology Laboratory (LPMA) has long been involved in developing aerosol science in France in conjunction with various academic and industrial partners. It is located at the CEA site in Saclay (Essonne, France). It is directed by François Gensdarmes.






Context and research themes

The LPMA carries out experimental research, studies and technical assessments related to the characterisation of source terms at facilities, in normal and accident situations.

This involves:

  • basic research and studies, as well as applied studies, on aerosol physics and metrology, and on air contamination by natural sources, both radioactive and non-radioactive, and anthropogenic sources (formation, physical and chemical changes, and transfer, mainly via containment barriers);
  • research and studies on the physics and chemistry of phenomena likely to occur during an accident situation at a nuclear facility;
  • applying the results obtained to define, analyse and develop the related measurement devices, especially atmospheric samplers;
  • testing devices used to measure radioactive contamination.



Research axes


Main areas

To fulfil its tasks, the LPMA develops knowledge in three main areas :  

  • Aerosol physics: sources (suspension, nucleation), changes in space and over time (condensation, evaporation, agglomeration, electrical charge) and aerosol deposition (deposition on surfaces, transfer via ducts).
  • Aerosol metrology: measuring physical properties (aerodynamics, diffusion, electrical, aggregate morphology) and sampling methods (performance, use strategy).
  • Purification of radioactive gases such as iodine and tritium.



Major research topics currently studied at LPMA
  • Particle suspension by air flow or by the fall of potentially dispersible materials (powders, contaminated objects, liquids), suspension during dismantling operations.
  • Characterisation of aerosols emitted during a fire situation and the suspension of contaminants emitted by materials subject to fire.
  • Nanoparticles (characterising emissions, specific metrology, transfer and deposition, containment and filtration)
  • Sampling aerosols for workstation monitoring.
  • Radon, thoron and decay product metrology.
  • Assessing the performance of air contamination monitors.
  • Trapping radioactive iodine and tritium on activated carbon and zeolite filters.



Specialties and researchers


    Services provided

    • Assessment and characterisation of a,et g radioactive contamination measurement equipment.
    • Verification and calibration of radon measurement instruments.
    • Measurement and characterisation of particle releases at industrial facilities.




François Gensdarmes, head of laboratory
Sylvain Bondiguel, technician
Sylvain Fauvel, engineer
Guillaume Davenne, technician
Zakaria Mana, engineer
Nathalie Michielsen, research engineer
Céline Monsanglant-Louvet, research engineer
François-Xavier Ouf, engineer
Samuel Peillon, engineer
Sébastien Pontreau, technician
Stéphane Roussel, technician
Audrey Roynette, technician
Philippe Sillon, technician 



Facilities and techniques



  • Icare,  test bench for performing tests using calibrated radioactive aerosols, with caesium or plutonium markers;
  • Baccara, test bench for research on the metrology of radon.
  • Lec, ISO Class 8 dust-monitoring cleanroom.
  • Bise, air duct for research on the suspension of contaminants by air flow.
  • Cepia, test chamber for research on the performance of personal and environment aerosol samplers.


Measuring equipment

For aerosol characterisation :

  • Condensation Nuclei Counter (CNC), Nephelometer and Optical Counters (COP),
  • Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS), Engine Exhaust Particle Size Spectrometer (EEPS), Differential Mobility Spectrometer (DMS),
  • Diffusion battery, Aerodynamic Particle Sizer (APS), Aerosizer, Electrical Low Pressure and Cascade Impactors (ELPI, Andersen), Coulter Counter,
  • Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance (TEOM).


For aerosol generation:

  • Atomizers, Piezoelectric ceramics, Vibrating Orifices, Rotating brush, Fluidized bed, Vortex Shaker, Voltage pulse generator, Evaporation/condensation generator.


For radioactivity:

  • MINI 20 proportional counter, ,  and  spectrometry, Measurement of the activity concentration of radon



Partnership and research networks


    • LRGP (CNRS and Nancy University joint laboratory),
    • CORIA (Rouen University, CNRS and INSA joint laboratory),
    • LISA (Paris-Est Créteil University, Paris Diderot University and CNRS joint laboratory),
    • CERTES (Paris-Est Créteil University),
    • LPGP (Paris-Sud University and CNRS joint laboratory),
    • INRS,
    • CEA,
    • LNE,
    • AREVA,
    • EDF,
    • ONERA


Send Print
Baccara, banc d'étalonnage du radon à Saclay ©Olivier Seignette/Mikaël Lafontan/IRSN


The co-authored book “History and Reviews of Aerosol Science” (2005) includes a chapter on the research carried out by LPMA and its partners between 1980 and 2001.

The table of contents


Francois Gensdarmes, head of laboratory



Aerosol Physics and Metrology Laboratory
91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex

By phone: +33 (0)1 69 08 55 06


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