Protein Crystallography and Biophysics Centre (BiophysX)
Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology (ISMB)
Birkbeck College / University College London

Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS)
(punk, unchained labs)

Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) measures the light scattered by solutions of macromolecules, and monitors changes in time due to diffusion, i.e. translational molecular movement. This gives information on the size (radius, not molecular weight) on a pure preparation, and it is very good at detecting heterogeneity, particularly otherwise invisible aggregates. The measurement is quick and requires small, recoverable volumes of sample, and is therefore an obvious quality control.

Sample Requirements
  • Volume: 5 μl for the rUNt blade cell, 12-15 μl for cuvette measurements. Sample is recoverable. Cuvette measurements provide more accurate results.
  • Concentrations: depends on the sample size. For proteins 1 mg/ml provides sufficient results. If unsure use the Concentrator Calculator in the software (under Tools).
  • Negative control: ordinary buffer solutions should not scatter light, however a control is required if the buffer contains large additives or detergents.
  • Positive control: 1-2 mg/ml lysozyme or BSA can be used as reference measurements.
Stetefeld at al, Biophys Rev. 8(4), 409-427 (2016)

Please contact us for detailed protocols and planning your experiment.

ISMB Protein Crystallography and Biophysics Centre, Birkbeck, University of London
Last modified April 2021