Application of Voltage in Dynamic Light Scattering Particle Size Analysis.

Academic Article


  • Dynamic light scattering (DLS) is a common method for characterizing the size distribution of polymers, proteins, and other nano- and microparticles. Modern instrumentation permits measurement of particle size as a function of time and/or temperature, but currently there is no simple method for performing DLS particle size distribution measurements in the presence of applied voltage. The ability to perform such measurements would be useful in the development of electroactive, stimuli-responsive polymers for applications such as sensing, soft robotics, and energy storage. Here, a technique using applied voltage coupled with DLS and a temperature ramp to observe changes in aggregation and particle size in thermoresponsive polymers with and without electroactive monomers is presented. The changes in aggregation behavior observed in these experiments were only possible through the combined application of voltage and temperature control. To obtain these results, a potentiostat was connected to a modified cuvette in order to apply voltage to a solution. Changes in polymer particle size were monitored using DLS in the presence of constant voltage. Simultaneously, current data were produced, which could be compared with particle size data, to understand the relationship between current and particle behavior. The polymer poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAM) served as a test polymer for this technique, as pNIPAM's response to temperature is well-studied. Changes in the lower-critical solution temperature (LCST) aggregation behavior of pNIPAM and poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-block-poly(ferrocenylmethyl methacrylate), an electrochemically active block-copolymer, in the presence of applied voltage are observed. Understanding the mechanisms behind such changes will be important when trying to achieve reversible polymer structures in the presence of applied voltage.
  • Authors

  • Ren, Tianyu
  • Roberge, Emma J
  • Csoros, John R
  • Seitz, W Rudolph
  • Balog, Eva Rose M
  • Halpern, Jeffrey
  • Publication Date

  • January 24, 2020
  • Published In


  • Dynamic Light Scattering
  • Particle Size
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)


  • 155