Surface tension effects on submerged electrosprays

Á.G. Marín*, I.G. Loscertales, A. Barrero

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Electrosprays are a powerful technique to generate charged micro/nanodroplets. In the last century, the technique has been extensively studied, developed, and recognized with a shared Nobel price in Chemistry in 2002 for its wide spread application in mass spectrometry. However, nowadays techniques based on microfluidic devices are competing to be the next generation in atomization techniques. Therefore, an interesting development would be to integrate the electrospray technique into a microfluidic liquid-liquid device. Several works in the literature have attempted to build a microfluidic electrospray with disputable results. The main problem for its integration is the lack of knowledge of the working parameters of the liquid-liquid electrospray. The “submerged electrosprays” share similar properties as their counterparts in air. However, in the microfluidic generation of micro/nanodroplets, the liquid-liquid interfaces are normally stabilized with surface active agents, which might have critical effects on the electrospray behavior. In this work, we review the main properties of the submerged electrosprays in liquid baths with no surfactant, and we methodically study the behavior of the system for increasing surfactant concentrations. The different regimes found are then analyzed and compared with both classical and more recent experimental, theoretical and numerical studies. A very rich phenomenology is found when the surface tension is allowed to vary in the system. More concretely, the lower states of electrification achieved with the reduced surface tension regimes might be of interest in biological or biomedical applications in which excessive electrification can be hazardous for the encapsulated entities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number044104
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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