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A variable pressure method for characterizing nanoparticle surface charge using pore sensors

Robert Vogel, Will Anderson, James Eldridge, Ben Glossop, and Geoff Willmott
Anal. Chem., 2012, 84 (7), pp 3125–3131

A novel method using resistive pulse sensors for electrokinetic surface charge measurements of nanoparticles is presented. This method involves recording the particle blockade rate while the pressure applied across a pore sensor is varied. This applied pressure acts in a direction which opposes transport due to the combination of electro-osmosis, electrophoresis, and inherent pressure. The blockade rate reaches a minimum when the velocity of nanoparticles in the vicinity of the pore approaches zero, and the forces on typical nanoparticles are in equilibrium. The pressure applied at this minimum rate can be used to calculate the zeta potential of the nanoparticles. The efficacy of this variable pressure method was demonstrated for a range of carboxylated 200 nm polystyrene nanoparticles with different surface charge densities. Results were of the same order as phase analysis light scattering (PALS) measurements. Unlike PALS results, the sequence of increasing zeta potential for different particle types agreed with conductometric titration.

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