Production of neutral molecular clusters by controlled neutralization of mobility standards
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Production of neutral molecular clusters by controlled neutralization of mobility standards
  • Published Date:

    2017

  • Source:
    Aerosol Sci Technol. 2017 Aug 3;51(8):946-955.
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  • Description:
    Measuring aerosols and molecular clusters below the 3 nm size limit is essential to increase our understanding of new particle formation. Instruments for the detection of sub-3 nm aerosols and clusters exist and need to be carefully calibrated and characterized. So far calibrations and laboratory tests have been carried out using mainly electrically charged aerosols, as they are easier to handle experimentally. However, the charging state of the cluster is an important variable to take into account. Furthermore, instrument characterization performed with charged aerosols could be biased, preventing a correct interpretation of data when electrically neutral sub-3 nm aerosols are involved. This article presents the first steps to generate electrically neutral molecular clusters as standards for calibration. We show two methods: One based on the neutralization of well-known molecular clusters (mobility standards) by ions generated in a switchable aerosol neutralizer. The second is based on the controlled neutralization of mobility standards with mobility standards of opposite polarity in a recombination cell. We highlight the challenges of these two techniques and, where possible, point out solutions. In addition, we give an outlook on the next steps toward generating well-defined neutral molecular clusters with a known chemical composition and concentration.
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  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5546065
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