Aerosol charging and capture in the nanoparticle size range (6-15 nm) by direct photoionization and diffusion mechanisms

Jingkun Jiang, Christopher J. Hogan, Da Ren Chen, Pratim Biswas

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30 Scopus citations


Aerosol charging in the 6-15 nm size range by photoionization and diffusion mechanisms was studied numerically and experimentally. By comparing the charging rate of both mechanisms, their relative importance was determined as a function of nanoparticle size and charge. A photoionization expression derived from the Fowler-Nordheim equation was used and found to be applicable not only for metal particles (silver), but also for organic particles (sucrose). Photoemission yield enhancement from small nanoparticles was validated and the size dependent photoemission constant in the Fowler-Nordheim equation was determined by comparing numerical results to experimental data. For both silver and sucrose nanoparticles, the photoemission constant increased by a factor of 2 as the particle diameter decreased from 15 to 6 nm, consistent with theoretical results reported in the literature. The enhancement of the photoemission constant with decreasing particle size increases the relative importance of photocharging compared to diffusion charging. Using these size dependent photoemission constant values, the charging dynamics and capture of silver and sucrose nanoparticles by both photoionization and diffusion charging were examined numerically. Numerical results were in excellent agreement with the experimental data, and the charging and capture efficiency of both silver and sucrose in 6-15 nm size range decreased with decreasing particle size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number034904
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by a grant from the DOD MURI Program, Grant No. UR 523873. The authors also acknowledge support from the Center of Materials Innovation, Washington University in St. Louis. One of the authors (C.J.H.) acknowledges support from an NSF graduate research fellowship. The authors would like to thank Chaolong Qi, doctoral student at Washington University, for his assistance with silver nanoparticle generation experiments, and Vitaly Kresin, professor at University of Southern California, for the helpful discussions about the Fowler Law.


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