, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 439-453

System for In Situ Characterization of Nanoparticles Synthesized in a Thermal Plasma Process

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We have designed a particle diagnostic system that is able to measure particle size and charge distributions from low stagnation pressure (≥746 Pa) and high temperature (2000–4000 K) environments in near real time. This system utilizes a sampling probe interfaced to an ejector to draw aerosol from the low pressure chamber. Particle size and charge distributions are measured with a scanning mobility particle sizer. A hypersonic impactor is mounted in parallel with the scanning mobility particle sizer to collect particles for off-line microscopic analysis. This diagnostic system has been used to measure size and charge distributions of nanoparticles (Si, Ti, Si–Ti–N, etc.) synthesized with our thermal plasma reactor. We found that the mean particle size increases with operating pressure and reactant flow rates. We also found that most particles from our reactor are neutral for particles smaller than 20 nm, and that the numbers of positively and negatively charged particles are approximately equal.