A systematic evaluation of the effects of polydispersity of chainlike aggregates in terms of primary particle number density and size on the scattering quantities and data inversion is presented. For aggregates with refractive index in the range |m-1| = 0.8–1.2, average size parameter x < 0.40, and primary particle number Np < 20, it is shown that the effects of polydispersity of primary particle size on the light-scattering quantities are much stronger than the polydispersity of the number of primary particles per aggregate. For aggregates with polydisperse primary particle size, the assumption of monodispersity tends to underestimate the real and imaginary parts of the refractive index and the number of primary particles. Specifically, for values of the distribution width σ greater than 0.10, the effect of polydispersity of the size of primary particles must be considered in the data inversion schemes. Furthermore, in the same range of values for the refractive index, particle size parameter, and primary particle number, the assumption of monodispersity for aggregates with polydisperse particle number tends to underestimate the value of the real part of the refractive index and overestimate the value of the imaginary part of the refractive index and primary particle size. However, for values of the distribution width σ less than 0.60, the effects of polydispersity of primary particle number can be neglected. In addition, the suitable pairing sets of the measured scattering quantities for data inversion are presented and discussed.
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