Sotiris E. Pratsinis


Particle Technology Laboratory, Institute of Process Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland


The lecture will start with a fascinating overview of combustion aerosol technology from ancient China and the bible printing of Gutenberg to the current manufacture of commodities.  Recent advances in particle formation and growth through discrete element modeling and molecular dynamics allow now optimal process design, away from the Edisonian approaches of the past. In specific, the rapid attainment of asymptotic agglomerate structure and self-preserving size distribution by coagulation greatly facilitate scalable process design for material synthesis.1

This leads to scalable synthesis of sophisticated nanoparticles with controlled morphology size and composition by flame spray pyrolysis putting new high value products (like nanosilver and carbon-coated Co nanoparticles) in the market already while several promising ones are emerging such as single atom catalysts and chemoresistive gas sensors for breath analysis. As time permits, the latter are highlighted for highly selective monitoring of acetone, NH3, isoprene and even formaldehyde. These are tracers of body fat burning, end stage renal disease, cholesterol and indoor air pollution, respectively, while sensor arrays are assembled to sniff–out earthquake victims.2

  1. Aerosol-based Technologies in Nanoscale Manufacturing: from Functional Materials to Devices through Core Chemical Engineering, AIChE J., 56, 3028-3035 (2010).
  2. A.T. Güntner, S. Abegg, K. Königstein, P.A. Gerber, A. Schmidt-Trucksäss, S.E. Pratsinis, Breath Sensors for Health Monitoring, ACS Sensors, 4, 268-280 (2019).