Dr Chris Stopford

University of Hertfordshire

Chris Stopford is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Hertfordshire. Having completed a PhD in physics on the topic of classification of cirrus ice crystals by in-situ light scattering instruments, he has continued to pursue research into the development of particle detection instrumentation and analysis techniques. Working with academics (UK MET Office, NASA, University of Manchester, ETH Zurich), commercial partners (Select Group, ALERT Technology Ltd, Alphasense) and others (Health & Safety Executive, Environmental Protection Agency), these instruments have been used for the detection and classification of high altitude cirrus, airborne asbestos, fracking sand and other environmental aerosol.

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Real-time detection of airborne asbestos by light scattering from magnetically rotated fibres

Inadvertent inhalation of asbestos fibres and the subsequent development of incurable cancers is a leading cause of work-related deaths worldwide. Currently, there is no real-time in situ method for detecting airborne asbestos. We describe an optical method that seeks to address this deficiency. It is based on the use of laser light scattering patterns to determine the change in angular alignment of individual airborne fibres under the influence of an applied magnetic field. Detection sensitivity estimates are given for both crocidolite (blue) and chrysotile (white) asbestos. The method has been developed with the aim of providing an cost effective warning device to tradespeople and others at risk from inadvertent exposure to airborne asbestos.