BME 695L Lecture 7: Assessing Zeta Potentials

By James Leary

Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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See references below for related reading.

7.1      Introduction – the importance of the zeta potential
7.1.1    nanoparticle-nanoparticle interactions
7.1.2    nanoparticle-cell interactions
7.1.3     part of the initial nanomedical system-cell targeting process
7.1.4     low zeta potential leads to low serum protein binding and potentially longer circulation

7.2      Zeta potential basics
7.2.1     What is the zeta potential? surface layer potential Stern layer potential slip layer zeta potential layer
7.2.2     How is it measured? electrophoresis conversion of electrophoretic mobility to zeta potential
7.2.3     Zeta potential is the potential barrier to cell-nanoparticle interactions
7.2.4     Optimal zeta potential is complicated but some general advice

7.3      Some factors affecting the zeta potential
7.3.1    pH
7.3.2     ionic strength

7.4       Some zeta potential experiences
7.4.1     Size and zeta potential changes during LBL assembly of NPs
7.4.2     Effects of pH and dilution on NP zeta potential

7.5       "Zeta sizing" measuring size on a zeta potential instrument
7.5.1     DLS (Dynamic Light Scattering) sizing
7.5.2     Relating scattering intensity to diffusion coefficients and hydrodynamic size
7.5.3     Computing the hydrodynamic radius from the Stokes-Einstein equation
7.5.4     Actual versus measured DLS values


Copyright © 2011, James F. Leary, All rights reserved.


"Zeta potential measurement using laser Doppler electrophoresis (LDE)"
"Why Measure Zeta Potential?"
Shaw, D.J., Everett, D.H., Lyklema, J., Ross, S. "Zeta Potential: An Introduction in 30 minutes"
Washington, C. "Zeta Potential in Pharmaceutical Formulation"
"Using zeta potential to assess protein adsorption to surfactant coated latex"
Prow, T.W., Rose, W.A., Wang, N., Reece, L.M., Lvov, Y., Leary, J.F. "Biosensor-Controlled Gene Therapy/Drug Delivery with Nanoparticles for Nanomedicine" Proc. SPIE 5672: 177 – 208, 2005.
Zhang, Y., Yang, M., Portney, N.G., Cui, D., Budak, G., Ozbay, E., Ozkan, M., Ozkan, C.S. "Zeta potential: A surface electrical characteristic to probe the interaction of nanoparticles with normal and cancer human breast epithelial cells” Biomed Microdevices 10:321–328, 2008. (Full text found at

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  • James Leary (2011), "BME 695L Lecture 7: Assessing Zeta Potentials,"

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