A novel technique is described for reducing the size of aerosol droplets produced by a pneumatic nebulizer of the kind commonly used in flame or plasma spectrometry. The technique involves the application of an electric field to the tip of the nebulizer, resulting in an induced surface charge on the liquid being nebulized. In turn, the surface charge reduces the liquid's surface tension and results in the generation of a finer aerosol. In this study, the effect of the electric field is quantified in terms of the spatial dispersion and size distribution of aerosol droplets formed in the presence and absence of the field. Droplet size distributions, obtained using the MgO impression technique and analyzed using log-normal and upper-limit functions, reveal a 63% decrease in the volume mean droplet diameter in the field's presence. As a result, this system is expected to be useful in both flame and plasma spectrometry, where reduced droplet size can yield improved precision and freedom from interferences.


Materials Science and Engineering

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This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in Review of Scientific Instrumentation.



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