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Work Package 2

Validation of methods for the physical characterisation of nano-objects

The aim of this work package is to validate measurement techniques for the characterisation of physical properties of particulate nanomaterials, especially dimensional properties like size and size distribution, but also surface charge, agglomeration state and concentration. This workpackage is divided into several tasks:

Techniques to determine the size of nano-objects

The task is to determine the size and size distribution of nano-objects in biological systems. The main techniques used are:

  • Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS)
  • Field flow fractionation / Multiangle Light Scattering (FFF/MALS)
  • Differential Centrifugal Sedimentation (DCS)
  • Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS)
  • Nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA)

Techniques to determine the surface charge of nano-objects

Evidence suggests that surface charge and particle size play a fundamental role in the way nanoparticles interact with biological systems. Nanoparticles with surface charge close to zero are prone to agglomeration, thus the measurement of this parameter can provide a mean to predict the fate of nanoparticles in biological systems. Environmental pH, adsorbed biomolecules and proteins are also parameters that may affect surface charge of nanoparticles. It is therefore important to understand how different biological environments affect nanoparticle surface charge.
The main techniques used are:

  • Electrophoretic Light Scattering (ELS)
  • Scanning Ion Occlusion Spectroscopy (SIOS)
  • Zeta Potential Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (Z-NTA)

Techniques to determine the concentration and agglomeration state of nano-objects

Here the aim is to measure the concentration and agglomeration state of nano-objects in biological media. Environmental parameters such as pH and ionic strength, as well as presence of proteins and biomolecules in the medium affect nano-objects state of agglomeration and potential sedimentation. The measurement of particle state of agglomeration and concentration provides valuable information on how the particles behave and interact with the biological medium.
The main techniques used are:

  • Scanning Ion Occlusion Spectroscopy (SIOS)
  • Field flow fractionation with multi-angle light scattering detection (FFF / MALS)