Aerosol charge fractions downstream of six bipolar chargers: Effects of ion source, source activity, and flowrate

Jingkun Jiang, Chungman Kim, Xiaoliang Wang, Mark R. Stolzenburg, Stanley L. Kaufman, Chaolong Qi, Gilmore J. Sem, Hiromu Sakurai, Naoya Hama, Peter H. Mcmurry

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33 Scopus citations


Bipolar diffusion charging is used routinely in aerosol electrical mobility size distribution measurements. In this study, aerosol charge fractions produced by six bipolar chargers (neutralizers) were measured using a tandem differential mobility analyzer system. Factors that were studied include the type of ion source (210Po, 85Kr, 241Am, and soft X-ray), source activity, charger design, and aerosol flowrate. It was found that all six types of neutralizers achieve stationary state charge distributions when the source activity is sufficiently high. For 210Po neutralizers with an initial radioactivity of 18.5 MBq (0.5 mCi), stationary state charge distributions are achieved when the source is less than 3.25 years old (residual activity no less than 0.0527 MBq). Stationary state was achieved for 85Kr neutralizers having residual radioactivity greater than 70 MBq. Source activities of 241Am and soft X-ray neutralizers are discussed. Aerosol charge fractions for six neutralizers remain reasonably invariant over a wide range of flowrates. The positive charge fractions achieved by the soft X-ray neutralizer are higher than those by the other five neutralizers using radioactive sources while negative charge fractions for all neutralizers studied are all in a similar range. This study also raises questions about bipolar charging fractions used for data inversion in some scanning mobility particle spectrometer (SMPS) systems, and underscores the need to better understand bipolar charging to achieve more accurate measurements of particle size distributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1216
Number of pages10
JournalAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Association for Aerosol Research.


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