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Emerging techniques for submicrometer particle sizing applied to Stöber silica.

Bell, N C; Minelli, C; Tompkins, J; Stevens, M M*; Shard, A G (2012) Emerging techniques for submicrometer particle sizing applied to Stöber silica. Langmuir, 28 (29). pp. 10860-10872.

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The accurate characterization of sub-micron and nanometer sized particles presents one of the greatest stumbling blocks to their deployment in the diverse applications envisaged for them including cosmetics, biosensors, renewable energy and catalysis. Size is one of the principal parameters for classifying particles and understanding their behavior and toxicity, with dependencies on other particle characteristics usually only quantifiable when size is accounted for. We present a head-to-head study of emerging and established techniques to size sub-micron particles, evaluating their relative resolution and precision, demonstrating the variety of principles upon which they are based, and developing a framework in which they can be compared. We used in-house synthesized Stöber silica particles between 100 and 400 nm in diameter as reference materials for this study. The emerging techniques of scanning ion occlusion sensing (SIOS), differential centrifugal sedimentation (DCS) and nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) were compared to the established techniques of transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning or sequential mobility particle sizing (SMPS), and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The size distributions were fitted to Gaussian distributions, and the mode, arithmetic mean and standard deviation used to describe them. Uncertainties associated to the six techniques were evaluated, statistical uncertainties in the means for the single-particle counting techniques quantified and the suitability of the Gaussian fits qualitatively assessed using Q-Q plots. SMPS was the most precise technique and DCS had the highest resolution. Through the use of complementary techniques for particle sizing, a more complete characterization of the particles was achieved, with additional information on their density and porosity attained.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: TEM, DLS, SMPS, SIOS, DCS, NTA, Stöber silica, particle density
Subjects: Nanoscience
Nanoscience > Surface and Nanoanalysis
Identification number/DOI: 10.1021/la301351k
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 13:14
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/5540

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