The scientific and industrial communities who work with micro- and nanoparticles continue to labor with the challenge of effective particle dispersion.

Most particles that disperse in liquids aggregate rapidly, and eventually precipitate, thereby separating from the liquid phase.

While it is commonly accepted that the hydrophobicity of particles-- how quickly water repels off a surface--determines their dispersion and aggregation potential, there has been no easy-to-use method to quantitatively determine the hydrophobicity of these tiny particles.

Yi Zuo, University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Engineering and pediatrics professor, has invented a groundbreaking method that allows for easy determination of the surface free energy of particles as a quantitative measure of particle hydrophobicity.

The research "An Optical Method for Quantitatively Determining the Surface Free Energy of Micro- and Nanoparticles," was published in the October 2019 issue of the scientific journal Analytical Chemistry and showcased on the cover.

"The major advantage of this method resides in its simplicity," said Zuo.

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