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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-43
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-43
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Mar 2019

Research article | 04 Mar 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Concept for an electrostatic focusing device for continuous ambient pressure aerosol concentration

Joseph L. Woo1,a, Neha Sareen1,b, Allison N. Schwier1,c, and V. Faye McNeill1 Joseph L. Woo et al.
  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY, 10027, USA
  • anow at: Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Lafayette College, Easton, PA, 18042, USA
  • bnow at: US Environmental Protection Agency, New York, NY, 10007, USA
  • cnow at: US Department of State, Washington, DC, 20520, USA

Abstract. We present a concept for enhancing the concentration of charged submicron aerosol particles in a continuous flow stream using in situ electrostatic focusing. It is proposed that electrostatic focusing can enable the continuous, isothermal concentration of aerosol particles at ambient pressure, without altering their chemical composition. We model this approach theoretically and demonstrate proof-of-concept via laboratory measurements using a prototype. The prototype design consists of a nozzle-probe flow system analogous to a virtual impactor. The device was tested in the laboratory using submicron, monodisperse stearic acid particles. Particles were charged using a unipolar charger, then concentrated using a cylindrical electrostatic immersion lens to direct the charged submicron particles into the sample probe. Under applied lens voltages ranging from 0 V to 30 kV, aerosol concentration increased up to 15 %. Observed particle enrichment varied as a function of voltage and particle diameter. These results suggest that an imposed electric field can be used to increase aerosol concentration in a continuous flow. This approach shows promise in increasing the effective enriched size range of virtual impactors or other continuous-flow methods of collection.

Joseph L. Woo et al.
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Latest update: 23 Mar 2019
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Short summary
We present a concept for concentrating small aerosol particles in a flow without altering their chemical composition, using electrostatic forces. This technique may be useful for research applications including aerosol studies in environmental health and atmospheric chemistry.
We present a concept for concentrating small aerosol particles in a flow without altering their...
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