Three-body collisions as a particle formation mechanism in silver nanoparticle synthesis

Kari E.J. Lehtinen (Corresponding Author), Ulrika Backman, Jorma K. Jokiniemi, Markku Kulmala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Silver nanoparticles were prepared in a tubular flow reactor using an evaporation–condensation technique. The size distribution of the particles was measured using standard aerosol instruments and electron microscopy. A comparison with results obtained by a discrete population balance model with molecule-by-molecule resolution suggest that the particles probably nucleate kinetically through a dimerization process instead of a thermodynamic pathway over a free energy barrier, as is typically described by classical nucleation theory. Furthermore, the kinetic rate of dimerization seems to be accompanied by a correction term, associated with the requirement of energy and momentum conservation in molecule–molecule collisions. This energy conservation requires the presence of three-body collisions at the very initial step of particle formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-530
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • silver
  • nanoparticles
  • nucleation
  • formation
  • collisions
  • evaporation-condensation


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