An aerosol generation system is described that enables the production of precise mass flow streams of well-characterized, submicron-sized aerosol particles. A pneumatic-type nebulizer is used to nebulize aqueous solutions of dissolved metals, which subsequently dry in a gaseous co-flow, producing a gaseous stream of dispersed, fine solid particles with a known mass concentration. Gravimetric calibration of nebulizer demonstrates the precise nature of the device for aerosol generation. Representative iron-based (spherical) and titanium-based (nonspherical) particles are analyzed using transmission electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction. Both aqueous metals form metallic oxides, namely, FeO and TiO, and the measured particle sizes are in the range 10-100 nm. The measured particle size and composition are used to calculate the size distribution of droplets produced by the nebulizer, which yield a mean droplet diameter of 524 nm. The nebulizer droplet distribution is well described by a log-normal distribution. Using the aerosol generator as a calibration source of aerosol particles for laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, linear calibration curves were produced for titanium over mass concentrations ranging from 0 to 4425 μg/m3.
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