The study of atmospheric aerosols has recently become very important for two major reasons: the small particle size fraction has a very important influence on human health and it affects the global climate. Micro-analytical characterization of individual particles generally permits more information to be obtained than is feasible with bulk analysis. The development of thin-window energy-dispersive detectors was of major importance for electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), in order to detect light elements (6<Z). This technique has proven to be a powerful tool for the study of individual particles, because the combination of electron microscopic imaging with energy dispersive X-ray detection allows characterizing large numbers of individual particles in a fast, automated way. The improved technology largely extended our knowledge on atmospheric reactions, due to novel information obtained on the chemical composition and reactions of aerosol particles. The combination of computer-controlled single-particle analysis using thin-window EPMA and a reverse Monte Carlo quantification procedure proved to be very beneficial for providing elemental concentrations within 15 % relative accuracy, also for low-Z elements. Beam-sensitive particles such as ammonium sulphate and nitrate can be analysed by using a liquid-nitrogen cooled sample stage. Additionally, the automation gives the possibility to analyse huge numbers of aerosols at a single particle level, giving better statistical results. Further developments of this methodology should allow studying surface layers on individual microscopic particles. Recently, some surface layers on so-called Asian dust particles were studied, i.e. soil dust, which is transported from the Gobi desert during certain periods of the year and influences the regional weather and air pollution considerably. In order to obtain more detailed information about the speciation of the individual environmental particles, it is proposed that different combinations of microanalysis techniques should be studied as well. The combination of the micro-Raman technique and TW-EPMA for environmental research can give detailed information about the characterisation of individual particles, which permits better characterization and provide more complete information about the Global Change problems, pollution sources and their processes. Micro-Raman spectroscopy has rather unexplored potentials in the single particle analysis field, particularly if it can be coupled with EPMA.