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Publication Title | Generation and Sizing of Particles for Aerosol-Based Nanotechnology

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Generation and Sizing of Particles for Aerosol-Based Nanotechnology†

George Biskos 1,2*,

Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology1 Department of Environmental Studies, University of the Aegean2

Vincent Vons, Caner U. Yurteri and Andreas Schmidt-Ott

Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology1 Abstract

Traditionally, the generation of nanoparticles for technological applications has been mostly performed by classical wet chemistry or lithographic methods, and their size has been commonly determined in situ by electron microscopy techniques. Advances in aerosol technology over the past 30 years have provided methods that enable the generation and measurement of nanosize building blocks, and have opened up new opportunities in the assembly of nanostructured materials and nanodevices. This article provides a brief review on state-of-the-art techniques for generating nanoparticles of well-defined size and chemical composition in view of applications in nanotechnology. Covering atomization techniques from the liquid phase and nanoparticle synthesis from the gas phase, we discuss the advantages and limitations of each method. Considering the advantages of on-line methods that aerosols instruments offer, we describe the most efficient techniques for measuring the size distributions of airborne nanosize particles. Finally, we provide a brief discussion on existing and emerging applications of aerosol-based nanotechnology.

Keywords: gas plase, nanoparticle synthesis, nanostructure, nanomaterials

1. Introduction

Developing methods to manipulate matter and to assemble structures on the nanometer scale is of great interest in many technological applications. Nanostructured materials exhibit novel and enhanced proper ties compared to their bulk counterpar ts. Hav- ing characteristic scales below 100 nm, the behavior of these materials is primarily determined by the physical and chemical properties of their building blocks, i.e. the nanoparticles, which in turn depend on their chemical composition and size. By control- ling the size and composition of these building-block nanoparticles, one can tailor nanostructured materi- als for specific applications in a relatively simple man- ner.

† Accepted: August 23, 2008

1 Delft 2628-BL, The Netherlands

2 Mytilene 81100, Greece

* Correspondence author


c 2008 Hosokawa Powder Technology Foundation KONA Powder and Particle Journal No.26 (2008)

Traditionally, the term nanoparticle is used for sol- id or liquid particles of sizes below 100 nm (cf. Hinds 1999; Baron and Willeke 2001). For particles contain- ing 2 and up to approx. 103 atoms or molecules, the term cluster is often used. In most of the synthesis methods discussed in this paper, the sizes of the par- ticles range from a few nm up to 50 nm. Nanoparticles can be synthesized in the liquid or the gas phase. Liquid routes such as incipient wet- ness impregnation, coprecipitation and grafting, and sol-gel, are batch processes that often involve large amounts of solvents. A great drawback of these methods is the introduction of impurities. These are always more abundant in liquids than in gases, and even the most advanced methods apply surfactants that contaminate the par ticles produced. Nanopar ti- cle formation in the gas phase (i.e. aerosol formation) on the other hand, offers high purity and the ability to synthesize nanostructures in a continuous process (Pratsinis and Mastrangelo 1989; Mädler et al. 2002). In addition, aerosol techniques reduce waste forma- tion thereby making them more attractive for large-


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