Gas dynamic virtual nozzle for generation of microscopic droplet streams

D. P. DePonte, Uwe Weierstall, Kevin Schmidt, J. Warner, D. Starodub, John Spence, R. B. Doak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

418 Scopus citations


As shown by Gãn-Calvo (1998 Phys. Rev. Lett. 80 285-8), a free liquid jet can be compressed in diameter through gas dynamic forces exerted by a coaxially co-flowing gas, obviating the need for a solid nozzle to form a microscopic liquid jet and thereby alleviating the clogging problems that plague conventional droplet sources of small diameter. We describe in this paper a novel form of droplet beam source based on this principle. The source is miniature, robust, dependable, easily fabricated, essentially immune to clogging and eminently suitable for delivery of microscopic liquid droplets, including hydrated biological samples, into vacuum for analysis using vacuum instrumentation. Monodisperse, single-file droplet streams are generated by triggering the device with a piezoelectric actuator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number195505
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 7 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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