In-situ aerosol nanoparticle characterization by small angle X-ray scattering at ultra-low volume fraction

P. S. Bauer, H. Amenitsch, B. Baumgartner, G. Köberl, C. Rentenberger, P. M. Winkler

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State-of-the-art aerosol nanoparticle techniques all have one feature in common: for analysis they remove the nanoparticles from their original environment. Therefore, physical and chemical properties of the particles might be changed or cannot be measured correctly. To overcome these shortcomings, we apply synchrotron based small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) as an in-situ measurement technique. Contrasting other aerosol studies using SAXS, we focus on particle concentrations which allow direct comparison to common aerosol nanoparticle analyzers. To this end, we analyze aerosol nanoparticles at ambient pressure and concentrations of slightly above ~106 cm−3. A differential mobility particle sizer (DMPS) is operated in parallel. We find that SAXS enables measurement of the primary particles and the aggregates, whereas the DMPS detects only aggregates. We conclude that in-situ nanoparticle characterization with ultra-low volume fractions of ~10–10 is feasible with SAXS. Our technique opens up a doorway to the in-situ analysis of aerosol nanoparticles under atmospheric conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1122
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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