Electro-hydrodynamic generation of monodisperse nanoparticles in the sub-10 nm size range from strongly electrolytic salt solutions: governing parameters of scaling laws
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- Maißer, A., Attoui, M.B., Gañán-Calvo, A.M. et al. J Nanopart Res (2013) 15: 1318. doi:10.1007/s11051-012-1318-2
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A charge reduced electro-hydrodynamic atomization (EHDA) device has been used to generate airborne salt clusters in the sub 10 nm size range. The focus of this study on that specific sub-micron range of electrospray droplets with relatively high electrical conductivities and permittivities aims to address the still existing controversy on the scaling laws of electrosprayed droplet diameters. In this study different concentrations of sodium chloride and potassium chloride—both show strong electrolytic behavior—have been electrosprayed from solutions in pure water, or from aqueous ammonium acetate buffer liquids of varying concentrations. The dry residue salt cluster diameter generated by the EHDA process have been measured using a differential mobility analyzer. The initial droplet diameter has been determined indirectly from the measured particle size following the steps of Chen et al. (J Aerosol Sci 26:963–977, 1995). Results have been compared to existing scaling laws valid for direct droplet measurements. They can be interpreted concisely on the basis of a realistic hypothesis on possible electrochemical effects taking place and affecting the droplet and thus nanoparticle formation in EHDA. The hypothesis developed in this work and the comparison with the experimental results are shown and discussed in the manuscript.