Tracing the composition of single e-cigarette aerosol droplets in situ by laser-trapping and Raman scattering


Authored by  G David*, E A Parmentier*, I Taurino, R Signorell*

Published in Scientific Reports    
* This author is not affiliated with PMI.

Abstract

The partitioning of components between droplets and the gas phase in e-cigarette aerosols has a significant impact on deposition within the respiratory tract. However, exclusive detection of droplet composition has, so far, been elusive. Consequently, the dynamics of partitioning between droplets and the gas phase remains unknown. Here, we combine optical trapping of single droplets with in situ Raman scattering for destruction-free monitoring of e-cigarette droplet composition with a time resolution of seconds. We find that the initial droplet composition is very close to the composition of the e-liquid. Upon dilution with air, the droplet composition changes exponentially on a time scale of seconds, mainly because of evaporation of propylene glycol. The nicotine content in the droplet is controlled by the pH. Nicotine evaporates from the droplets under basic conditions, but remains in the liquid under acidic conditions. These results are crucial for advancing e-liquid research and manufacturing.