2D mappings of nanoparticle size, particle size distribution and aggregation behaviour indicating nucleation and growth on size scales from 0.5 to 500 nanometres and on timescales as short as 100 microseconds were measured using high brilliance small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS).
The synthetic flame was produced with a methane and oxygen mixture to which the precursor hexamethyldisiloxane was fed. A highly collimated and intense monochromatic X-ray beam (size 300 micrometres) passed through the flame. The scattered intensity in the forward direction was recorded by a two dimensional detector housed inside the 10 metre evacuated flight tube.
The results support simple diffusion-controlled nanoparticle growth laws that were used to model the data and encourage current attempts at simulation and modelling of nanoparticle growth while offering a technique for direct verification of these predictions. Work in progress extends the studies to nanometre-scale aerosols of toxicological and environmental concern.
Principal Publication and Authors
G. Beaucage, H.K. Kammler, R. Mueller, R. Strobel, N. Agashe, S.E. Pratsinis, and T. Narayanan, Probing the dynamics of nano-particle growth in a flame using synchrotron radiation, Nature Materials, 3, 370 (2004).