Online ion mobility spectrometry of nanoparticle formation by non-thermal plasma conversion of metal salts in liquid aerosol droplets

Tommaso Gallingani, Nabiel H. Abuyazid, Vittorio Colombo, Matteo Gherardi, R. Mohan Sankaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The synthesis of nanoparticles by reaction of liquid aerosol droplets containing precursors in a flow-through, atmospheric-pressure, non-thermal plasma offers a continuous, scalable, substrate- and stabilizer-free approach for direct deposition into liquids or onto soft substrates. However, the combination of multiphase and non-equilibrium chemistry makes the process complicated and poorly understood. Here, we present ion mobility spectrometry measurements of liquid water droplets containing silver nitrate passing through an atmospheric-pressure dielectric barrier discharge reactor that allows us to monitor silver nanoparticle formation online for the first time. Mobility diameter distributions were obtained with the plasma on and off, and exhibited a shift, which was related to the degree of conversion of silver nitrate. The silver nanoparticles were also collected and characterized by UV–visible absorbance spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy to support the online measurements. Importantly, negligible conversion was found when the water was removed by a diffusion dryer, suggesting that the key reducing species are in the liquid phase, such as solvated electrons. Overall, the study demonstrates how ion mobility spectrometry measurements can be applied to provide insight into this approach to nanoparticle synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105631
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
Volume150
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ion mobility spectrometry
  • Liquid droplets
  • Nanoparticles
  • Plasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Atmospheric Science

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