Oscillating Capillary Nebulizer

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An oscillating capillary nebulizer which is capable of nebulizing a liquid sample flow at microflow liquid flow rates and which is capable of controlling the particle size and particle size distribution of the nebula. The oscillating capillary nebulizer comprises a pair of coaxial capillary tubes which are friction-fit mounted by way of peek tubing ferrules. The dimensions of the inner and outer capillary tubes are such that an annular spacing is created between the inner surface of the outer capillary tube and the outer surface of inner capillary tube. A liquid sample is introduced into the nebulizer through the inner capillary tube. A gas flow path is provided by the space between the inner and outer capillary tubes. The gas enters the gas flow path through a port in the side of the outer capillary tube. At least the inner capillary tube is made of flexible material. Preferably, the inner diameter of the inner capillary tube is small enough to provide jet flow of the liquid sample at low liquid flow rates. The gas flow velocity, which is a function of the gas flow rate and the size of the annular spacing, is sufficient to cause turbulence of the gas stream around the free end of the inner capillary tube, thereby creating instability in the system. This instability, depending on how the system is set up, will initially cause the inner capillary tube to oscillate. The oscillation causes the generation of a high frequency standing wave along a portion of the length of the inner capillary and a breakup of the liquid jet into uniform liquid drop sizes.
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