Observation of Incipient Particle Formation during Flame Synthesis by Tandem Differential Mobility Analysis-mass Spectrometry (DMA-MS)


While flame aerosol reactor (FLAR) synthesis of nanoparticles is widely used to produce a range of nanomaterials, incipient particle formation by nucleation and vapor condensation is not well understood. This gap in our knowledge of incipient particle formation is caused by limitations in instruments, where, during measurements, the high diffusivity of sub 3 nm particles significantly affects resolution and transport loss. This work used a high resolution differential mobility analyzer (DMA) and an atmospheric pressure interface-mass spectrometer (APi-TOF) to observe incipient particle formation during flame synthesis. By tandemly applying these two instruments, differential mobility analysis-mass spectrometry (DMA-MS) measured the size and mass of the incipient particles simultaneously, and the effective density of the sub 3 nm particles was estimated. The APi-TOF further provided the chemical compositions of the detected particles based on highly accurate masses and isotope distributions. This study investigated the incipient particle formation in flames with and without the addition of synthesis precursors. Results from FLAR using two types of precursors including tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) and titanium isopropoxide (TTIP) are presented. The effect of the precursor feed rates on incipient particle growth was also investigated.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


This work is supported by the Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States (SERIIUS), funded jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy (Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Solar Energy Technology Program, under Subcontract DE-AC36-08GO28308 to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado) and the Government of India, through the Department of Science and Technology under Subcontract IUSSTF/JCERDC-SERIIUS/2012. The work was also supported by Academy of Finland via Center of Excellence project in Atmospheric Sciences (272041) and European Commission via ACTRIS2 (654109).

Keywords and Phrases

Aerosols; Atmospheric pressure; Chemical analysis; Combustion; Combustion synthesis; Flame synthesis; Mass spectrometry (MS); Spectrometry; Synthesis (chemical); Chemical compositions; Differential mobility analysis (DMA); Differential mobility analyzers; Flame aerosol reactor (FLAR); Isotope distributions; Tandem differential mobility analysis; Tetraethyl orthosilicates; Titanium Isopropoxide; Particle size analysis; Incipient particle

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Jan 2017