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Sizing Nanoparticles and Macromolecules in Liquids using an Electrospray and Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer™ Spectrometer 

ES-SMPS and ES-DMA (a.k.a. macroIMSTM Macroion Mobility Spectrometer, GEMMA, ES-IMS, nES‑GEMMA) are acronyms coined by researchers to describe an Electrospray Aerosol Generator (EAG) paired with a Scanning Mobility Particle (SMPS) Spectrometer used to perform rapid, high resolution sizing of nanoparticle colloids, proteins and other macromolecules.  

The fundamental measurement behind the ES-SMPS technique is Differential Mobility Analysis. Briefly described, the EAG is used to aerosolize the colloidal suspension (similar to ESI-MS), and then particles are sized via their electrical mobility (ability to traverse an electric field) resulting in a measurement of electrical mobility diameter (EMD) which is a fundamental function of particle size.  

The ES-SMPS technique is frequently chosen by researchers over more conventional techniques and its use is increasingly widespread. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) & the National Characterization Laboratory (NCL) issued a Joint Assay Protocol, “PCC-10: Analysis of Gold Nanoparticle by Electrospray Differential Mobility Analysis (ES-DMA)” which details a protocol for size analysis of liquid born gold nanoparticles via ES-SMPS.  

Useful Information via ES-SMPS  
  • Size Distributions of Nanoparticles in Solutions 
  • Molecular Mass of Proteins and other MacroMoleculesInsight into Colloidal Kinetic
    • Kinetic Evaluations of Aggregation Behavior 
    • Investigations of Nanoparticle Dissolution
  • Surface Density and Thickness of Nanoparticle Coatings  
Benefits of ES-SMPS 
  • Nanoparticle Size Accuracy 
  • Nanoparticle Size Resolution 
  • Accurate Measurement of Multimodal Size Distributions 
  • Single Particle Sizing 
  • Sensitivity to Small Changes in Size 
  • Measurement of Molecular Mass/Molecular Weight (MW) 
  • High Sensitivity 
  • High Precision and Repeatability 
  • Small Sample Volume (~20mL) 
  • Large Measurement Samples 
  • Fast measurement times 
  • First Principle Measurement 
  • Independent of Optical Properties of Material or Solution 
  • Independent of Sample Temperature 
  • Well Understood Technology 

Refer to Application Note ES-001  and TSI's ES-SMPS bibliographies for more information. 

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