Flash Freeze Flow Tube to Vitrify Aerosol Particles at Fixed Relative Humidity Values

Theresa M. Kucinski, Emily Jean E. Ott, Miriam Arak Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Development of methods to measure the phase transitions and physical properties of submicron atmospheric aerosol particles is needed to better model these systems. In this paper, we present a method to flash freeze submicron particles to measure phase transitions as a function of relative humidity (RH). Particles are equilibrated at a fixed RH, vitrified in a temperature-controlled flow tube, and imaged with cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM). We demonstrate the use of the technique for measuring the efflorescence relative humidity (ERH) of potassium sulfate and potassium chloride aerosol as well as the separation RH (SRH) for a multicomponent organic/inorganic system that undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). The location of phase transitions can shift between the micrometer and nanometer size regimes, and particles in a given population may have a range of RH over which a phase transition occurs. This technique addresses these requirements by allowing for characterization of the phase transitions for individual particles in a population on the submicron scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5207-5213
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 7 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry


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