Determination of the size distribution of non-spherical nanoparticles by electric birefringence-based methods
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AuthorArenas-Guerrero, Paloma; Delgado, Ángel V.; Donovan, Kevin J.; Scott, Kenneth; Bellini, Tommaso; Mantegazza, Francesco; Jiménez Olivares, María Luisa
Arenas-Guerrero, Paloma; et. al. Determination of the size distribution of non-spherical nanoparticles by electric birefringence-based methods. Scientific Reports (2018) 8:9502 [DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-27840-0]
SponsorshipFinancial support of this investigation by Junta de Andalucía, Spain (grant No. PE2012-FQM0694) and University of Granada (Program “Proyectos de investigación precompetitivos”) is gratefully acknowledged.
The in situ determination of the size distribution of dispersed non-spherical nanoparticles is an essential characterization tool for the investigation and use of colloidal suspensions. In this work, we test a size characterization method based on the measurement of the transient behaviour of the birefringence induced in the dispersions by pulsed electric fields. The specific shape of such relaxations depends on the distribution of the rotational diffusion coefficient of the suspended particles. We analyse the measured transient birefringence with three approaches: the stretched-exponential, Watson-Jennings, and multiexponential methods. These are applied to six different types of rod-like and planar particles: PTFE rods, goethite needles, single- and double-walled carbon nanotubes, sodium montmorillonite particles and gibbsite platelets. The results are compared to electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering measurements. The methods here considered provide good or excellent results in all cases, proving that the analysis of the transient birefringence is a powerful tool to obtain complete size distributions of non-spherical particles in suspension.