Nucleation and Nanoparticle Formation


Nucleation and condensational growth of aerosol nanoparticles represent two highly challenging aspects of aerosol dynamics. Many macroscopically relevant objects such as clouds originate from dynamical processes taking place on the nano-scale. Understanding the molecular interactions is thus of vital importance for the prediction and quantification of phase transition effects in aerosol systems.

Current research activities of our group include a variety of topics ranging from fundamental nucleation research via nanoparticle formation studies under ambient conditions to instrumentation development. An expansion-type Size Analyzing Nuclei Counter (SANC), designed and constructed by our group, constitutes the core instrument for the precision measurement of heterogeneous nucleation and condensational growth.

Beyond laboratory based experiments at the Faculty of Physics our group participates in the Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets (CLOUD) experiment at the CERN synchrotron in Geneva, Switzerland. CLOUD aims at resolving the impacts of ionizing radiation and trace gases on the nucleation of ambient nanoparticles. Besides the manpower provided for the planning and operation of the CLOUD chamber, our group constructed the UV light system and contributes various analysing instruments for the measurement of nanoparticles.

CLOUD chamber at CERN, Switzerland.

CLOUD chamber at CERN, Switzerland.

Aerosol Nanoparticle Formation: The Movie