Microelectrophoresis based on the dynamic light scattering (DLS) effect has been a major tool for assessing and controlling the conditions for stability of colloidal systems. However, both the DLS methods for characterization of the hydrodynamic size of dispersed submicron particles and the theory behind the electrokinetic phenomena are associated with fundamental and practical approximations that limit their sensitivity and information output. Some of these fundamental limitations, including the spherical approximation of DLS measurements and an inability of microelectrophoretic analyses of colloidal systems to detect discrete charges and differ between differently charged particle surfaces due to rotational diffusion and particle orientation averaging, are revisited in this work. Along with that, the main prospects of these two analytical methods are mentioned. A detailed review of the role of zeta potential in processes of biochemical nature is given too. It is argued that although zeta potential has been used as one of the main parameters in controlling the stability of colloidal dispersions, its application potentials are much broader. Manipulating surface charges of interacting species in designing complex soft matter morphologies using the concept of zeta potential, intensively investigated recently, is given as one of the examples. Branching out from the field of colloid chemistry, DLS and zeta potential analyses are now increasingly finding application in drug delivery, biotechnologies, physical chemistry of nanoscale phenomena and other research fields that stand on the frontier of the contemporary science. Coupling the DLS-based microelectrophoretic systems with complementary characterization methods is mentioned as one of the prosperous paths for increasing the information output of these two analytical techniques.
Uskoković V. Dynamic light scattering based microelectrophoresis: Main prospects and limitations. J Dispers Sci Technol. 2012;33(12):1762-1786. doi:10.1080/01932691.2011.625523.
Taylor & Francis