Malin Edvardsson Jan 29, ’19 < 3 min

Six measurement techniques for nanoparticle size characterization

Nanoparticle size is one of the key parameters that are relevant to characterize in nanoparticle suspensions. Here we list six different methods that you can use to characterize the nanoparticle size.

The relevance of interface and shape for the size measurement

Different measurement techniques will measure the nanoparticle size in different ways. Some techniques measure the physical size of the nanoparticle, i.e. the hard material interface, while others measure the hydrodynamic size, i.e. they target the water layer attached to the nanoparticle as it moves in solution. The measurement result, i.e. the resulting size, will, therefore, depend on which type of interface that is being probed.

The shape of the nanoparticle also plays a role in the size measurement. For example, some characterization tools approximate all objects to spheres and will, therefore, assign an effective diameter to non-spherical nanoparticles.

Nanoparticle size distribution

Nanoparticle suspensions are complex systems and several parameters must be characterized to get a good understanding of their state and behavior. In addition to the nanoparticle size, the size distribution is also relevant. The size distribution may reveal for example that there are aggregates present in the solution, which in turn may indicate poor dispersion of the nanoparticles.

Methods to measure the nanoparticle size

There are a range of analytical techniques that you can use to extract information about the nanoparticle size. Below we list six methods that provide information either on the ensemble level (E) or at the single nanoparticle level (SP):

  1. Dynamic light scattering (E)
  2. Disc centrifugation (E)
  3. Nanoparticle tracking analysis (SP)
  4. Tunable Resistive Pulse Sensing (SP)
  5. Atomic force microscopy (SP)
  6. Electron microscopy (SP)

In addition to size, there are several other parameters that are important to characterize, such as concentration in solution, shape, surface charge and chemical composition.

Download the overview to learn more about the characterization of nanoparticle suspensions, and what characterization methods that can be used.

Overview  How to characterize nanoparticle suspensions   Download

Cover photo by Thor Alvis on Unsplash

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