U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Date of this Version



Published in Chemosphere 49 (2002) 1093–1136.


Receptor models infer contributions from particulate matter (PM) source types using multivariate measurements of particle chemical and physical properties. Receptor models complement source models that estimate concentrations from emissions inventories and transport meteorology. Enrichment factor, chemical mass balance, multiple linear regression, eigenvector, edge detection, neural network, aerosol evolution, and aerosol equilibrium models have all been used to solve particulate air quality problems, and more than 500 citations of their theory and application document these uses. While elements, ions, and carbons were often used to apportion TSP, PM10, and PM2.5 among many source types, many of these components have been reduced in source emissions such that more complex measurements of carbon fractions, specific organic compounds, single particle characteristics, and isotopic abundances now need to be measured in source and receptor samples. Compliance monitoring networks are not usually designed to obtain data for the observables, locations, and time periods that allow receptor models to be applied. Measurements from existing networks can be used to form conceptual models that allow the needed monitoring network to be optimized. The framework for using receptor models to solve air quality problems consists of: (1) formulating a conceptual model; (2) identifying potential sources; (3) characterizing source emissions; (4) obtaining and analyzing ambient PM samples for major components and source markers; (5) confirming source types with multivariate receptor models; (6) quantifying source contributions with the chemical mass balance; (7) estimating profile changes and the limiting precursor gases for secondary aerosols; and (8) reconciling receptor modeling results with source models, emissions inventories, and receptor data analyses.