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  • Visualization of the Charging of Water Droplets Sprayed into Air. The journal of physical chemistry. A Xia, Y., Xu, J., Li, J., Chen, B., Dai, Y., Zare, R. N. 2024


    Water droplets are spraying into air using air as a nebulizing gas, and the droplets pass between two parallel metal plates with opposite charges. A high-speed camera records droplet trajectories in the uniform electric field, providing visual evidence for the Lenard effect, that is, smaller droplets are negatively charged whereas larger droplets are positively charged. By analyzing the velocities of the droplets between the metal plates, the charges on the droplets can be estimated. Some key observations include: (1) localized electric fields with intensities on the order of 109 V/m are generated, and charges are expected to jump (micro-lightening) between a positively charged larger droplet and the negatively charged smaller droplet as they separate; (2) the strength of the electric field is sufficiently powerful to ionize gases surrounding the droplets; and (3) observations in an open-air mass spectrometer reveal the presence of ions such as N2+, O2+, NO+, and NO2+. These findings provide new insight into the origins of some atmospheric ions and have implications for understanding ionization processes in the atmosphere and chemical transformations in water droplets, advancing knowledge in the field of aerosol science and water microdroplet chemistry.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.jpca.4c02981

    View details for PubMedID 38968601