In this work, we present a hydrophilic self-cleaning condenser surface for the collection of biological and environmental aerosol samples. The condenser is installed in a battery-operated hand-held breath sampling device. The device performance is characterized by the collection and analysis of exhaled breath samples from a group of volunteers. The exhaled breath condensate is collected on a subcooled condenser surface, transferred into a storage vial, and its chemical content is analyzed using mass spectrometric methods. The engineered surface supports upon it a continuous condensation cycle, and this allows the collection of liquid samples exceeding the saturation mass/area limit of a plain hydrophilic surface. The condenser surface employs two constituent parameters: A low surface energy barrier to enhance nucleation and condensation efficiency, and a network of surface microstructures to create a self-cleaning mechanism for fluid aggregation into a reservoir. Removal of the liquid condensate from the condenser surface prevents the formation of a thick liquid layer, and thus maintains a continuous condensation cycle with a minimum decrease in heat transfer efficiency as condensation occurs on the surface. The self-cleaning condenser surfaces may have a number of applications in the collection of biological, chemical, or environmental aerosol samples. Sample phase conversion to liquid can facilitate sample manipulation and chemical analysis of matrices with low concentrations. Here, we demonstrate the use of a self-cleaning microcondenser for the collection of exhaled breath condensate with a hand-held portable device. All breath collections with the two devices were performed with the same group of volunteers under UC Davis IRB protocol 63701-3.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine