Experiments were performed by applying sub-critical high-voltage alternating current (AC) to the nozzle of laminar propane coflow diffusion flames. Light scattering, laser-induced incandescence and laser-induced fluorescence techniques were used to identify the soot zone, and the structures of OH and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Particle image velocimetry was adopted to quantify the velocity field. Under certain AC conditions of applied voltage and frequency, the distribution of PAHs and the flow field near the nozzle exit were drastically altered, leading to the formation of toroidal vortices. Increased residence time and heat recirculation inside the vortex resulted in appreciable formation of PAHs and soot near the nozzle exit. Decreased residence time along the jet axis through flow acceleration by the vortex led to a reduction in the soot volume fraction in the downstream sooting zone. Electromagnetic force generated by AC was proposed as a viable mechanism for the formation of the toroidal vortex. The onset conditions for the vortex formation supported the role of an electromagnetic force acting on charged particles in the flame zone. (C) 2014 The Combustion Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.