Capture of viral particles in soft X-ray-enhanced corona systems: Charge distribution and transport characteristics

Christopher J. Hogan, Myong Hwa Lee, Pratim Biswas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The charge distribution of airborne MS2 bacteriophage nanoparticles and the efficiency of electrical-mobility-based capture mechanisms with bipolar charging were studied. MS2 virions form large agglomerated particles in a suspension. The average charge on airborne MS2 virions can be as high as one unit charge (negatively charged). The application of both soft X-ray irradiation and alpha rays from a Po-210 bipolar charger was shown to not only reduce the average charge on MS2 virion particles but also partially fragment the larger MS2 virion agglomerates, thereby increasing the number of ultrafine MS2 virion particles. A cylindrical electrostatic precipitator with a mounted soft X-ray emitter was used to determine the effectiveness of electrical capture methods for virus particles. At low applied voltages, it was found that the capture efficiency of ultrafine virus particles can be increased by applying in situ soft X-ray irradiation with electrostatic precipitation. It has also been shown that in the presence of both a positive and negative corona, virus particles are readily captured with log removal values exceeding 4. The unit developed and demonstrated in this work is a compact, low-pressure drop system that can be readily mounted in ventilation ducts or air supply systems to remove ultrafine particles such as viruses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-486
Number of pages12
JournalAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was partially supported by a Midwest Regional Center of Excellence (MRCE) NIH Biodefense Grant to Washington University in St. Louis. Christopher Hogan acknowledges support of a NSF-REU Grant from Washington University in St. Louis.


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