Design, simulation, and characterization of a radial opposed migration ion and aerosol classifier (ROMIAC)

We present the design, simulation, and characterization of the radial opposed migration ion and aerosol classifier (ROMIAC), a compact differential electrical mobility classifier. We evaluate the performance of the ROMIAC using a combination of finite element modeling and experimental validation of two nearly identical instruments using tetra-alkyl ammonium halide mass standards and sodium chloride particles. Mobility and efficiency calibrations were performed over a wide range of particle diameters and flow rates to characterize ROMIAC performance under the range of anticipated operating conditions. The ROMIAC performs as designed, though performance deviates from that predicted using simplistic models of the instrument. The underlying causes of this non-ideal behavior are found through finite element simulations that predict the performance of the ROMIAC with greater accuracy than the simplistic models. It is concluded that analytical performance models based on idealized geometries, flows, and fields should not be relied on to make accurate a priori predictions about instrumental behavior if the actual geometry or fields deviate from the ideal assumptions. However, if such deviations are accurately captured, finite element simulations have the potential to predict instrumental performance. The present prototype of the ROMIAC maintains its resolution over nearly three orders of magnitude in particle mobility, obtaining sub-20 nm particle size distributions in a compact package with relatively low flow rate operation requirements.

© 2017 American Association for Aerosol Research