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Appl Opt. 2001 Aug 20;40(24):4087-91.

Revisiting the method of cumulants for the analysis of dynamic light-scattering data.


The method of cumulants is a standard technique used to analyze dynamic light-scattering data measured for polydisperse samples. These data, from an intensity-intensity autocorrelation function of the scattered light, can be described in terms of a distribution of decay rates. The method of cumulants provides information about the cumulants and the moments of this distribution. However, the method does not permit independent determination of the long-time baseline of the intensity correlation function and can lead to inconsistent results when different numbers of data points are included in the fit. The method is reformulated in terms of the moments about the mean to permit more robust and satisfactory fits. The different versions of the method are compared by analysis of the data for polydisperse-vesicle samples.

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