Static Light Scattering (SLS) / Laser Diffraction Particle Size Distribution Analysis

Introduction

Static Light Scattering is used to refer to multiple analytical techniques that use light scattering phenomena to probe a sample. While the physics of scattering for all of these techniques is the same, appropriate data treatment differs. More importantly, sample handling requirements for each application are vastly different.

Molecular weight of polymers, proteins, and other macromolecules

Absolute scattering as a function of polymer concentration is used to determine the molecular weight of proteins and polymers in solution

Particle (and polymer) size and size distribution

Scattering as a function of angle can be used to determine the size and size distribution of particles and polymers. In general, this technique is most useful for particle sizes (diameters) over 10 nm. When used for polymers, proteins, or their aggregates, the technique is most often used to report radius of gyration. When used for particles in areas as diverse as mining, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food and beverage processing, this is also referred to as laser diffraction.

Particle detection

Since particles on a smooth surface will also scatter light, static light scattering is also used to detect particles on surfaces such as masks used in semiconductor manufacture. The technique can also be used to determine the concentration of particles in a gas, such as in air pollution or dust monitors.  

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