Dynamic light-scattering measurement comparability of nanomaterial suspensions
Increased use of nanomaterials in everyday products leads to their environmental release and therefore, the information need on their fate and behaviour. Nanomaterials have to be suspended with high repeatability and comparability for studies on environmental effects. They also have to be well characterised with a focus on the state of agglomeration and particle size distribution. Dynamic lightscattering (DLS) is a common technique used for these measurements. If suspensions are prepared in different laboratories, then concern has risen about the comparability of the measured results, especially when different DLS instruments are used. Therefore, for quality assurance, a round-robin test was conducted to assess the comparability of different DLS instruments and a dispersion protocol in ten independent laboratories. Polystyrene and TiO2 were chosen as test (nano)materials. For the comparability of the DLS instruments, the average sizes of the PSL and a stabilised TiO2 suspension were measured. The measured average hydrodynamic diameter shows an overall good inter-laboratory comparability. For the PSL suspension, an average hydrodynamic diameter of 201 ± 13 nm and for the TiO2 suspension an average diameter of 224 ± 24 nm were detected. For the TiO2 suspension that was prepared at each laboratory following an established suspension preparation protocol, an average hydrodynamic diameter of 211 ± 11 nm was detected. The measured average particle size (mode) increased up to 284 nm with a high standard deviation of 119 nm if the preparation protocol could not established and different procedures or different equipment were employed. This study shows that no significant differences between the employed DLS instrument types were determined. It was also shown that comparable measurements and suspension preparation could be achieved if welldefined suspension preparation protocols and comparable equipment can be used.