Silicon-based mesoporous nanoparticles have been extensively studied to meet the challenges in the drug delivery. Functionality of these nanoparticles depends on their properties which are often changing as a function of particle size and surrounding medium. Widely used characterization methods, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and transmission electron microscope (TEM) have both their weaknesses. We hypothesize that conventional light scattering (LS) methods can be used for a rigorous characterization of medium sensitive nanoparticles' properties, like size, stability, and porosity. Two fundamentally different silicon-based nanoparticles were made: porous silicon (PSi) from crystalline silicon and silica nanoparticles (SN) through sol-gel process. We studied the properties of these mesoporous nanoparticles with two different multiangle LS techniques, DLS and static light scattering (SLS), and compared the results to dry-state techniques, TEM, and nitrogen sorption. Comparison of particle radius from TEM and DLS revealed significant overestimation of the DLS result. Regarding to silica nanoparticles, the overestimation was attributed to agglomeration by analyzing radius of gyration and hydrodynamic radius. In case of PSi nanoparticles, strong correlation between LS result and specific surface area was found. Our results suggest that the multiangle LS methods could be used for the size, stability, and structure characterization of mesoporous nanoparticles.
- Mesoporous silica nanoparticle
- Biorelevant characterization
- Light scattering