Characterization of a non-thermal plasma source for use as a mass specrometric calibration tool and non-radioactive aerosol charger

Christian Tauber, David Schmoll, Johannes Gruenwald, Sophia Brilke, Peter Josef Wlasits, Paul Martin Winkler, Daniela Wimmer
2020 Atmospheric Measurement Techniques  
Abstract. In this study the charging efficiency of a radioactive and a non-radioactive plasma bipolar diffusion charger (Gilbert Mark I plasma charger) for sub-12 nm particles has been investigated at various aerosol flow rates. The results were compared to classic theoretical approaches. In addition, the chemical composition and electrical mobilities of the charger ions have been examined using an atmospheric pressure interface time-of-flight mass spectrometer (APi-TOF MS). A comparison of the
more » ... A comparison of the different neutralization methods revealed an increased charging efficiency for negatively charged particles using the non-radioactive plasma charger with nitrogen as the working gas compared to a radioactive americium bipolar diffusion charger. The mobility and mass spectrometric measurements show that the generated bipolar diffusion charger ions are of the same mobilities and composition independent of the examined bipolar diffusion charger. It was the first time that the Gilbert Mark I plasma charger was characterized in comparison to a commercial TSI X-Ray (TSI Inc, Model 3088) and a radioactive americium bipolar diffusion charger. We observed that the plasma charger with nitrogen as the working gas can enhance the charging probability for sub-10 nm particles compared to a radioactive americium bipolar diffusion charger. As a result, the widely used classical charging theory disagrees for the plasma charger and for the radioactive chargers with increased aerosol flow rates. Consequently, in-depth measurements of the charging distribution are necessary for accurate measurements with differential or scanning particle sizers for laboratory and field applications.
doi:10.5194/amt-13-5993-2020 fatcat:c7pn4jnfi5dttmmy7dwysbpbei