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Electrophoretic Light Scattering (ELS) is a technique used to measure the electrophoretic mobility of particles in dispersion, or molecules in solution. This mobility is often converted to Zeta potential to enable comparison of materials under different experimental conditions.
The fundamental physical principle is that of electrophoresis. A dispersion is introduced into a cell containing two electrodes. An electrical field is applied to the electrodes, and particles or molecules that have a net charge, or more strictly a net zeta potential will migrate towards the oppositely charged electrode with a velocity, known as the mobility, that is related to their zeta potential.
Malvern Instruments offer leading instrumentation for the measurement of electrophoretic mobility. The Zetasizer Nano provides a simple, fast and accurate way to measure zeta potential, and uses a unique disposable capillary cell to ensure that there is no cross contamination between samples. The NanoSight NS500 measures electrostatic potential particle-by-particle to produce number-weighted, not intensity-weighted, data, avoiding any bias towards larger particles.
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Electrophoretic light scattering (ELS) or zeta potential instruments use first principles in their measurement protocol. They cannot therefore, be calibrated. However, they can be verified that they are operating correctly, by measuring a suitable zeta potential standard.
Samples for zeta potential measurements need to be optically clear and may require dilution. The way in which the dilution is performed is absolutely critical in determining the zeta potential value measured.
Electroosmosis is the movement of a liquid relative to a stationary charged surface under the influence of an applied voltage
Electrophoresis is the movement of charged particles under the influence of an applied electric field
The derived count rate is the normalized count rate taking into account the attenuation factor used
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