2008 Volume 26 Pages 13-35
Traditionally, the generation of nanoparticles for technological applications has been mostly performed by classical wet chemistry or lithographic methods, and their size has been commonly determined in situ by electron microscopy techniques. Advances in aerosol technology over the past 30 years have provided methods that enable the generation and measurement of nanosize building blocks, and have opened up new opportunities in the assembly of nanostructured materials and nanodevices. This article provides a brief review on state-of-the-art techniques for generating nanoparticles of well-defined size and chemical composition in view of applications in nanotechnology. Covering atomization techniques from the liquid phase and nanoparticle synthesis from the gas phase, we discuss the advantages and limitations of each method. Considering the advantages of on-line methods that aerosols instruments offer, we describe the most efficient techniques for measuring the size distributions of airborne nanosize particles. Finally, we provide a brief discussion on existing and emerging applications of aerosol-based nanotechnology.