The purpose of this work is the development and control of a high temperature reactor for the production of engineered nanoparticles, taking advantage from our previous studies on combustion-generated fine carbonaceous particles. The reactor consists of a laminar premixed flame, homogenously doped with monodisperse droplets of metal precursors dissolved or dispersed in volatile solvents. The droplets are generated by a vibrating orifice aerosol generator, and injected directly into the burner. Fuel-lean and stoichiometric flames allow producing pure metal oxide particles of nanometric sizes.
Particles are collected by thermophoresis inserting a cold substrate in the flame by means of a pneumatic actuator. Morphological and dimensional analysis are performed on the collected particles by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). SEM and AFM allow inferring both qualitative and quantitative information on many physical properties including size, morphology, surface texture and roughness.
Experimental results have been obtained from a premixed stoichiometric flame of ethylene and air, doped with 75 microns droplets of magnesium nitrate hexahydrate dissolved in ethanol. Roughly monodisperse magnesium oxide particles, having a desired size ranging from 50 nm down to 7 nm, have been produced by altering the precursor concentration in the solution and the residence time of the synthesis process.