In this work we have investigated the mechanism of nanoparticle synthesis in a low pressure, premixed, laminar flat flame of CH4-O2, doped with iron pentacarbonyl using a combined quartz-crystal-microbalance-particle-mass-spectrometry apparatus. We have unambiguously demonstrated that the formation of nanoparticles in iron pentacarbonyl-doped flames occurs very early, in close proximity to the burner surface, prior to the flame front. This early rise of nanoparticle mass concentration is followed by a sharp drop in nanoparticle concentration at the high temperature flame front. This "prompt" nanoparticle generation is consistent with kinetic models describing iron cluster formation. The observation of this phenomenon in a quasi-one-dimensional premixed flat flame strengthens our previous findings and points out that the "prompt" nanoparticle formation is a general phenomenon, not limited to diffusion flames. It presents a challenge and a trigger for further development of the existing mechanisms for gas phase synthesis of iron oxide particles in flames.
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