, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 325-335

The Effect of Boundary Conditions on Gas-phase Synthesised Silver Nanoparticles

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We have prepared spherical non-agglomerated silver nanoparticles by an evaporation–condensation–dilution/cooling technique. Silver was evaporated from a crucible in a tubular flow reactor. A porous tube diluter was used to quench the carrier gas at the outlet of the reactor to enhance the formation of small particles and to suppress agglomeration and other particle growth mechanisms. The number size distribution of the prepared particles was measured with a differential mobility analyser–condensation nucleus counter combination and the size and the shape of the particles were analysed with transmission electron microscope. The system was modelled using a sectional aerosol dynamics computer code to estimate the importance of different aerosol processes. In all conditions the particles obtained were non-agglomerated and spherical. The mean particle diameter varied from 4 to 10-nm depending on boundary conditions. From the modelling studies it can be concluded that the nucleation rate is the most important parameter controlling the final particle size.