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International Journal of Polymer Science
Volume 2018, Article ID 6387826, 10 pages
Review Article

Analytical Methods to Characterize and Purify Polymeric Nanoparticles

1Grup d’Enginyeria de Materials, Institut Químic de Sarrià (IQS), Universitat Ramon Llull and Sagetis-Biotech, Via Augusta 390, 08017 Barcelona, Spain
2Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia (IQAC-CSIC) and Networking Centre on Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN), C/Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to Cristina Fornaguera; moc.liamg@areuganrofc

Received 30 June 2018; Accepted 10 July 2018; Published 5 August 2018

Academic Editor: Zhonghua Peng

Copyright © 2018 Cristina Fornaguera and Conxita Solans. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Advances in polymeric nanoparticles as novel nanomedicines have opened a new class of diagnostic and therapeutic tools for many diseases. However, although the benchtop research studies in the nanoworld are numerous, their translation to currently marketed products is still limited. This lack of transference can be attributed, among other factors, to problems with nanomedicine characterization. Characterization techniques at the nanoscale could be divided in three categories: characterization of physicochemical properties (e.g., size and surface charge), characterization of nanomaterials interactions with biological components (e.g., proteins from the blood), and analytical characterization and purification methods. Currently available literature of this last group only describes methodologies applied for a specific type of nanomaterial or even methods used for bulk materials, which are not completely applicable to nanomaterials. For this reason, the current review aims to become a scholastic guide for those scientists starting in the nanoworld, giving them a description of analytical characterization techniques aimed to analyze polymers forming nanoparticles and possible forms to purify them before being used in preclinical and clinical applications.