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Interlaboratory comparison for the measurement of particle size and zeta potential of silica nanoparticles in an aqueous suspension

Abstract

The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements has organised an interlaboratory comparison (ILC) to allow the participating laboratories to demonstrate their proficiency in particle size and zeta potential measurements on monomodal aqueous suspensions of silica nanoparticles in the 10–100 nm size range. The main goal of this ILC was to identify competent collaborators for the production of certified nanoparticle reference materials. 38 laboratories from four different continents participated in the ILC with different methods for particle sizing and determination of zeta potential. Most of the laboratories submitted particle size results obtained with centrifugal liquid sedimentation (CLS), dynamic light scattering (DLS) or electron microscopy (EM), or zeta potential values obtained via electrophoretic light scattering (ELS). The results of the laboratories were evaluated using method-specific z scores, calculated on the basis of consensus values from the ILC. For CLS (13 results) and EM (13 results), all reported values were within the ±2 |z| interval. For DLS, 25 of the 27 results reported were within the ±2 |z| interval, the two other results were within the ±3 |z| interval. The standard deviations of the corresponding laboratory mean values varied between 3.7 and 6.5%, which demonstrates satisfactory interlaboratory comparability of CLS, DLS and EM particle size values. From the received test reports, a large discrepancy was observed in terms of the laboratory’s quality assurance systems, which are equally important for the selection of collaborators in reference material certification projects. Only a minority of the participating laboratories is aware of all the items that are mandatory in test reports compliant to ISO/IEC 17025 (ISO General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. International Organisation for Standardization, Geneva, 2005b). The absence of measurement uncertainty values in the reports, for example, hindered the calculation of zeta scores.

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Correspondence to Andrée Lamberty.

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Lamberty, A., Franks, K., Braun, A. et al. Interlaboratory comparison for the measurement of particle size and zeta potential of silica nanoparticles in an aqueous suspension. J Nanopart Res 13, 7317–7329 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11051-011-0624-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11051-011-0624-4

Keywords

  • Silica nanoparticles
  • Methods for measurement of particle size
  • Zeta potential
  • Interlaboratory comparison
  • Certification of reference materials
  • International collaboration