Field flow fractionation techniques to explore the “nano-world”
Field flow fractionation (FFF) techniques are used to successfully characterize several nanomaterials by sizing nano-entities and producing information about the aggregation/agglomeration state of nanoparticles. By coupling FFF techniques to specific detectors, researchers can determine particle-size distributions (PSDs), expressed as mass-based or number-based PSDs. This review considers FFF applications in the food, biomedical, and environmental sectors, mostly drawn from the past 4 y. It thus underlines the prominent role of asymmetrical flow FFF within the FFF family. By concisely comparing FFF techniques with other techniques suitable for sizing nano-objects, the advantages and the disadvantages of these instruments become clear. A consideration of select recent publications illustrates the state of the art of some lesser-known FFF techniques and innovative instrumental set-ups.