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Article

Particle Size Distribution of Bimodal Silica Nanoparticles: A Comparison of Different Measurement Techniques

Institute of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Research Centre for Natural Sciences, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary
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Materials 2020, 13(14), 3101; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13143101
Received: 3 June 2020 / Revised: 30 June 2020 / Accepted: 6 July 2020 / Published: 11 July 2020
Silica nanoparticles (SNPs) belong to the most widely produced nanomaterials nowadays. Particle size distribution (PSD) is a key property of SNPs that needs to be accurately determined for a successful application. Many single particle and ensemble characterization methods are available for the determination of the PSD of SNPs, each having different advantages and limitations. Since most preparation protocols for SNPs can yield bimodal or heterogeneous PSDs, the capability of a given method to resolve bimodal PSD is of great importance. In this work, four different methods, namely transmission electron microscopy (TEM), dynamic light scattering (DLS), microfluidic resistive pulse sensing (MRPS) and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) were used to characterize three different, inherently bimodal SNP samples. We found that DLS is unsuitable to resolve bimodal PSDs, while MRPS has proven to be an accurate single-particle size and concentration characterization method, although it is limited to sizes above 50 nm. SAXS was found to be the only method which provided statistically significant description of the bimodal PSDs. However, the analysis of SAXS curves becomes an ill-posed inverse mathematical problem for broad size distributions, therefore the use of orthogonal techniques is required for the reliable description of the PSD of SNPs. View Full-Text
Keywords: silica nanoparticle; size distribution; light scattering; small-angle X-ray scattering; microfluidic resistive pulse sensing silica nanoparticle; size distribution; light scattering; small-angle X-ray scattering; microfluidic resistive pulse sensing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Al-Khafaji, M.A.; Gaál, A.; Wacha, A.; Bóta, A.; Varga, Z. Particle Size Distribution of Bimodal Silica Nanoparticles: A Comparison of Different Measurement Techniques. Materials 2020, 13, 3101. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13143101

AMA Style

Al-Khafaji MA, Gaál A, Wacha A, Bóta A, Varga Z. Particle Size Distribution of Bimodal Silica Nanoparticles: A Comparison of Different Measurement Techniques. Materials. 2020; 13(14):3101. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13143101

Chicago/Turabian Style

Al-Khafaji, Mohammed A., Anikó Gaál, András Wacha, Attila Bóta, and Zoltán Varga. 2020. "Particle Size Distribution of Bimodal Silica Nanoparticles: A Comparison of Different Measurement Techniques" Materials 13, no. 14: 3101. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13143101

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