White Paper: Understanding the Concept of Dynamic Light Scattering

Nanotechnology, defined as the study and use of objects whose dimensions are inferior to 100 nm, is a highly promising field of natural sciences. Nanoparticles have special properties which makes them valuable for a very wide range of industries, such as biotechnology, pharmaceutical, food, paper, polymer, electronics, ceramic industry and others. Therefore, there is an ever-growing demand for techniques aimed at characterizing the particles. In addition, many countries have established strict regulations regarding nanomaterial use in recent years, increasing the pressure on manufacturers to control nanoparticle characteristics with regards to their safety.

Although the term "nanotechnology" was first coined in 1974, the use of nanomaterials can be traced back to ancient times. Sabers made of Damascus steel, a technique that dates back to the eighth century, were found to contain carbon nanotubes which were likely responsible for the alloy’s legendary strength. In the European middle ages, glaziers used gold chloride or silver nitrate to produce red or yellow-tinted glass, respectively - a technique involving nanotechnology, as the metal nanoparticles, acting as quantum dots, reflect red or yellow light.

The technologies at this time were restricted to separating visible particles based on size and weight, using sieving or sedimentation. Photography was later used to image particles and to investigate their shape. The imaging techniques were further refined by the development of light microscopy and then of electron microscopy, which enabled the observation of particles smaller than 1 nm. 

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