, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 115-126

A High Efficiency, High Throughput Unipolar Aerosol Charger for Nanoparticles

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Abstract

A novel aerosol charger has been developed, which has high efficiency and high throughput especially for nanometer particles in the size range of 3–50 nm. Unipolar charging with high ion concentration and long charging time is used to obtain the high charging efficiency. High throughput is achieved by reducing particle loss within the charger. This is accomplished by directing ion flow and aerosol flow in the same direction and by the use of sheath air flow. The charger configuration is of a longitudinal design – the direction of aerosol stream and ion stream are flowing parallel along the longitudinal axis of the charger. The charger consists of four sections: the inlet zone, the ion production zone, the unipolar charging zone, and the exit zone. In the inlet and ion production zones, unipolar ions are generated using Po210 radioactive sources with an electric field designed to separate the positive and negative ions, and to focus the selected unipolar ions into the core region of the charger. The ions with the selected polarity is then attracted to the charging zone by an uniform electric field created by a series of ring electrodes applied with a linear ramped voltage. Aerosol entering the charger is sheathed with clean gas flow in order to keep the aerosol in the core region. A novel exit design with a reversed electric field is incorporated in order to minimize the charged particles loss. The performance of the charger is first evaluated using computer simulation and then constructed for experimental validation. Experiment data have demonstrated that the charger achieves 90% and 95% charged-particles penetration efficiency and with 22% and 48% extrinsic charging efficiency at 3 and 5 nm particle sizes, respectively. These performance data represent significant improvement, over a factor of 10, compared with the existing chargers.