We demonstrate a straightforward and rapid atomization process driven by surface acoustic waves that is capable of continuously producing spherical monodispersed submicron poly-ε-caprolactone particle aggregates between 150 and 200 nm, each of which are composed of nanoparticles of 5-10 nm in diameter. The size and morphologies of these particle assemblies were determined using dynamic light scattering, atomic force microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Through scaling theory, we show that the larger particle aggregates are formed due to capillary instabilities amplified by the acoustic forcing whereas the smaller particulates that form the aggregates arise due to a nucleate templating process as a result of rapid spatially inhomogeneous solvent evaporation. Minimization of the free energy associated with the evaporative process yields a critical cluster size for a single nucleus in the order of 10 nm, which roughly corresponds with the dimensions of the sub-50 nm particulates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering