We report an unsurpassed solution characterization technique based on analytical ultracentrifugation, which demonstrates exceptional potential for resolving particle sizes in solution with sub-nm resolution. We achieve this improvement in resolution by simultaneously measuring UV/Vis spectra while hydrodynamically separating individual components in the mixture. By equipping an analytical ultracentrifuge with a novel multi-wavelength detector, we are adding a new spectral discovery dimension to traditional hydrodynamic characterization, and amplify the information obtained by orders of magnitude. We demonstrate the power of this technique by characterizing unpurified CdTe nanoparticle samples, avoiding tedious and often impossible purification and fractionation of nanoparticles into apparently monodisperse fractions. With this approach, we have for the first time identified the pure spectral properties and band-gap positions of discrete species present in the CdTe mixture.
- analytical methods