Dynamic light scattering (DLS) is commonly used for the determination of average particle diameters and suspension stability and popular in academics and industry. However, DLS is not considered suitable for polydisperse samples. The presence of little quantities of micrometre particles in nano and submicrometre suspensions especially affect the reliability of DLS results. Microfiltration might be a suitable method for the removal of unwanted large particles. This study investigates the effect of microfiltration on the diameter distributions as measured by DLS. Polystyrene standards (40–900 nm diameter), and monomodal silica suspensions were filtered with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membranes (0.1–1.0 µm pore size) to investigate retention properties and grade efficiency. Non-ideal materials were used to prove the results. Experiments showed that a mono-exponential decay can be achieved by filtration. A size safety factor of at least three between labeled pore size and average diameter was found to keep separation as low as possible. Filtration in order to enhance DLS for particulate submicrometre materials was considered suitable for narrowly distributed coated titania and kaolin powder. In a regulatory context, this might have an impact on considering a substance false positive or false negative according to the European Commission (EC) recommendation of a definition of the term nanomaterial.
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