Controlling Charge on Levitating Drops
Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United StatesAnalytical Chemistry (Impact Factor: 5.64). 09/2007; 79(15):6027-30. DOI: 10.1021/ac070413j
Levitation technologies are used in containerless processing of materials, as microscale manipulators and reactors, and in the study of single drops and particles. Presented here is a method for controlling the amount and polarity of charge on a levitating drop. The method uses single-axis acoustic levitation to trap and levitate a single, initially neutral drop with a diameter between 400 microm and 2 mm. This drop is then charged in a controllable manner using discrete packets of charge in the form of charged drops produced by a piezoelectric drop-on-demand dispenser equipped with a charging electrode. The magnitude of the charge on the dispensed drops can be adjusted by varying the voltage applied to the charging electrode. The polarity of the charge on the added drops can be changed allowing removal of charge from the trapped drop (by neutralization) and polarity reversal. The maximum amount of added charge is limited by repulsion of like charges between the drops in the trap. This charging scheme can aid in micromanipulation and the study of charged drops and particles using levitation.
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ABSTRACT: We present the details necessary for building an efficient acoustic drop levitator with reduced electrical power consumption and greater drop stability compared to previous designs. The system is optimized so that the levitated drop may be used as a chemical reactor. By introducing a temperature, pressure, and relative humidity sensor for feedback control of a linear actuator for adjusting resonator length, we have built a completely automated system capable of continuous levitation for extended periods of time. The result is a system capable of portable operation and interfacing with a variety of detection instrumentation for in stillo (in drop) measurements.
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ABSTRACT: Containerless sample handling techniques such as acoustic levitation offer potential advantages for mass spectrometry, by eliminating surfaces where undesired adsorption/desorption processes can occur. In addition, they provide a unique opportunity to study fundamental aspects of the ionization process as well as phenomena occurring at the air-droplet interface. Realizing these advantages is contingent, however, upon being able to effectively interface levitated droplets with a mass spectrometer, a challenging task that is addressed in this report. We have employed a newly developed charge and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (CALDI) technique to obtain mass spectra from a 5-microL acoustically levitated droplet containing peptides and an ionic matrix. A four-ring electrostatic lens is used in conjunction with a corona needle to produce bursts of corona ions and to direct those ions toward the droplet, resulting in droplet charging. Analyte ions are produced from the droplet by a 337-nm laser pulse and detected by an atmospheric sampling mass spectrometer. The ion generation and extraction cycle is repeated at 20 Hz, the maximum operating frequency of the laser employed. It is shown in delayed ion extraction experiments that both positive and negative ions are produced, behavior similar to that observed for atmospheric pressure matrix-assisted laser absorption/ionization. No ion signal is observed in the absence of droplet charging. It is likely, although not yet proven, that the role of the droplet charging is to increase the strength of the electric field at the surface of the droplet, reducing charge recombination after ion desorption.
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