A user-friendly graphical user interface for dynamic light scattering data analysis†
Dynamic light scattering (DLS) is a commonly used analytical tool for characterizing the size distribution of colloids in a dispersion or a solution. Typically, the intensity of a scattering produced from the sample at a fixed angle from an incident laser beam is recorded as a function of time and converted into time autocorrelation data, which can be inverted to estimate the distribution of colloid diffusivity to estimate the colloid size distribution. For polydisperse samples, this inversion problem, being a Fredholm integral equation of the first kind, is ill-posed and is typically handled using cumulant expansions or regularization methods. Here, we introduce a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) for analyzing the measured scattering intensity time autocorrelation data using both the cumulant expansion method and regularization methods, with the latter implemented using various commonly employed algorithms, including NNLS, CONTIN, REPES, and DYNALS. The GUI allows the user to modulate any and all of the fit parameters, offering extreme flexibility. Additionally, the GUI also enables a comparison of the size distributions generated by various algorithms and an evaluation of their performance. We present the fit results obtained from the GUI for model monomodal and bimodal dispersions to highlight the strengths, limitations, and scope of applicability of these algorithms for analyzing time autocorrelation data from DLS.