Aerosols, particles that are suspended in a gaseous medium, are ubiquitous and found in nature and engineered systems. They occur in a range of sizes, shapes and compositions and are relevant to important phenomena such as climate change, human health, environmental and energy processes. These particles are both inadvertently and intentionally produced in a variety of systems. The inadvertently produced particles maybe problematic and their emissions need to be controlled. The intentionally produced particles have applications in a variety of fields, and form the backbone of the field of nanotechnology. The presentation will describe an understanding of the formation of these particles in gas-phase processes, and report on recent scientific advances. A description of aerosol science and engineering that enables fundamental studies both mechanistically, and by the availability of well controlled particles to understand property-function relationships will be presented.
The second part of the talk will focus on environmentally relevant applications. For the inadvertently produced particles, approaches to develop effective control technologies to prevent emissions to the atmosphere will be described. The presentation will describe the use of nanostructured sorbents and on strategies of charging nanoparticles for their effective capture. The ability to use the fundamental knowledge of aerosol science and engineering, coupled with reaction engineering principles to produce particles with strictly controlled sizes, morphologies and composition in aerosol reactors will be described. The use of semiconducting oxides for both photo-catalytic and light harvesting (solar energy) applications will be discussed. Examples will include the use of nanomaterials in environmental technologies for remediation of various pollutants and conversion of carbon dioxide to value-added products. While nanotechnology has great potential to improve overall environmental quality, there are concerns that it may also lead to a new class of hazards due to their enhanced toxicity. The use of these nanomaterials to enable nanotoxicology studies will be discussed.