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Light Scattering, Classical: Size and Size Distribution Characterization

Particle Size Analysis

  1. Guy C. Berry

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a1507

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Berry, G. C. 2006. Light Scattering, Classical: Size and Size Distribution Characterization. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (12 MAR 2015)


The use of classical, or time-averaged, light scattering methods to characterize the size and size distribution of macromolecules in dilute solutions or particles in dilute dispersions is discussed. The necessary scattering relations are presented systematically, starting with three cases at infinite dilution: the scattering extrapolated to zero angle, the scattering at small angle, and the scattering for arbitrary angle, including the inversion of the scattering data to estimate the size distribution. The relationships needed to effect an extrapolation to infinite dilution from data on dilute solutions are also discussed. These are followed by remarks on light scattering methods, and the concluding sections give examples for several applications. The Rayleigh–Gans–Debye (RGD) approximation is usually appropriate in the scattering from dilute polymer solutions and is also adequate for the scattering from dilute dispersions of small particles. The approximation is assumed when appropriate, but more complete theories are introduced where necessary, as in the use of the Mie–Lorentz theory for large spherical particles.