Efficient Optical Method for Measuring the Length Distribution of Nanotubes, Nanowires and other 1D Nanoparticles

The effect of the magnitude of electric field on nanoparticle alignment

Invention Summary:

One-dimensional nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) or metal nanowires have unique properties such as high electrical and high thermal conductivities which are influenced by the length of the particles. In order to tune the process to obtain a desired length it is important to have efficient analytical methods that reveal length values. Traditional techniques to measure particle length distributions are scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), size exclusion chromatography (SEC), and centrifugation. SEM and AFM are tedious techniques that make it practically impossible to gather robust statistics of nanoparticle lengths. SEC alone is not quantitative and must typically be calibrated against other measurement techniques like AFM.

Rutgers researchers have developed a novel method that enables efficient measurement of the length distribution of an ensemble of nanotubes, nanowires, or other 1D nanoparticles in suspension. This is a polarimetry technique, capable of measuring an enormous number of particles rapidly on the length scale of 1 µm – 10 µm. It can be used as a counterpart to dynamic light scattering (DLS) which is now used for particle sizing.


  • Provides ensemble statistics of nanotube/ nanowire/ 1D nanoparticle lengths.
  • Can be used independently or as a counterpart to DLS.

Market Applications:

  • Optical characterization of 1D nanoparticles
  • Nanoparticle size distribution analysis

Intellectual Property & Development Status: 

PCT application filed, patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration. For any business development and other collaborative partnerships contact marketingbd@research.rutgers.edu

Patent Information:
Maricely Ramírez-Hernández
Licensing Manager
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Machines & Instruments