Brownian motion of single glycerol molecules in an aqueous solution as studied by dynamic light scattering
Journal article, 2015
Aqueous solutions of glycerol are investigated by dynamic light scattering (DLS) over the whole concentration range (10-98 wt.% water) and in the temperature range 283-303 K. The measurements reveal one slow relaxation process in the geometry of polarized light scattering. This process is present in the whole concentration range, although it is very weak at the highest and lowest water concentrations and is considerably slower than the structural alpha relaxation, which is too fast to be observed on the experimental time scale in the measured temperature range. The relaxation time of the observed process exhibits a 1/q(2) dependence, proving that it is due to long-range translational diffusion. The Stokes-Einstein relation is used to estimate the hydrodynamic radius of the diffusing particles and from these calculations it is evident that the observed relaxation process is due to the Brownian motion of single or a few glycerol molecules. The fact that it is possible to study the self-diffusion of such small molecules may stimulate a broadening of the research field used to be covered by the DLS technique.