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Journal Article

Nanoparticle characterization: What to measure?


Burg,  T. P.
Research Group of Biological Micro- and Nanotechnology, MPI for biophysical chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Modena, M. M., Rühle, B., Burg, T. P., & Wuttke, S. (2019). Nanoparticle characterization: What to measure? Advanced Materials, 31(32): 1901556. doi:10.1002/adma.201901556.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-CB1F-7
What to measure? is a key question in nanoscience, and it is not straightforward to address as different physicochemical properties define a nanoparticle sample. Most prominent among these properties are size, shape, surface charge, and porosity. Today researchers have an unprecedented variety of measurement techniques at their disposal to assign precise numerical values to those parameters. However, methods based on different physical principles probe different aspects, not only of the particles themselves, but also of their preparation history and their environment at the time of measurement. Understanding these connections can be of great value for interpreting characterization results and ultimately controlling the nanoparticle structure–function relationship. Here, the current techniques that enable the precise measurement of these fundamental nanoparticle properties are presented and their practical advantages and disadvantages are discussed. Some recommendations of how the physicochemical parameters of nanoparticles should be investigated and how to fully characterize these properties in different environments according to the intended nanoparticle use are proposed. The intention is to improve comparability of nanoparticle properties and performance to ensure the successful transfer of scientific knowledge to industrial real‐world applications.