Particle Science
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Particle Science

Particle science is a branch of science that studies the elementary constituents of matter and the interactions between them. Modern particle science research is focused on particles from a few nanometres to over 3000 microns in size.

Particle size analysis is used for quality control in many different industries. In just about every industry where milling or grinding is required, particle size is a critical factor in determining the efficiency of manufacturing processes and performance of the final product.

The physical properties of particulate materials can influence a wide range of material behaviours. For example, reaction and dissolution rates, how easily ingredients flow and mix, or compressibility and abrasivity. From a manufacturing and development perspective, some of the most important physical properties to measure are:

  • Particle size
  • Particle shape
  • Surface properties
  • Mechanical properties
  • Change properties
  • Microstructure.

Techniques used in particle science

Techniques used for particle science measurement include:

Laser diffraction

Laser diffraction is a widely used particle sizing technique for materials ranging from tens of nanometres up to several millimetres in size. The main reasons for its success are its wide dynamic range, fast results, repeatability, instant feedback, high sample throughput and easy verification using standard reference materials. Laser diffraction can be used to measure dry powders, aerosols, liquid suspensions and emulsions.

Dynamic light scattering (DLS)

DLS is a non-invasive, well-established technique for measuring the size and distribution of molecules and particles lower than 1nm. Typical applications of DLS include the characterisation of particles, emulsions or molecules that have been dispersed or dissolved in a liquid. Particles are illuminated by a laser beam and scatter the light as a result of Brownian motion. Since the Brownian motion is related to the particle size, by measuring the scattered light the particle size can be calculated.

Multi-angle dynamic light scattering (MADLS)

MADLS offers improvements in particle sizing resolution, sensitivity and accuracy when compared to traditional single angle DLS. By combining sequentially-collected measurement data from three measurement angles it delivers improvements in resolution, typically from 3:1 to 2:1. MADLS also enables calibration-free particle concentration analysis for a wide range of materials, resolving the individual concentrations of different size populations to provide even greater insight into liquid samples.

Nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA)

NTA is a unique and patented technology that enables rapid and simultaneous multi-parameter analysis and characterisation of many different types of nanoscale particles. NanoSight enables the ability to visualise individual particles in solution, then analyse for size and count/concentration, under scatter and fluorescence mode.

Image analysis

Image analysis is a set of techniques that permit the investigator to obtain quantitative information from morphological preparations. When used properly, it’s a powerful tool that’s capable of providing meaningful data. With this method, microscope optics and a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera magnify and capture particle images, which are then counted and measured. The main applications of image analysis include measuring particle shape and the detection of sample contamination. Image analysis systems are generally used in the range of 0.5 – 1000 microns.

Particle science instruments

ATA Scientific provides instruments, service and expert advice in the field of particle science, and we represent a group of highly regarded international companies. We support a range of particle science analytical equipment for research and other applications. Instruments include:

Our team has an extensive range of skills and experience in analytical technologies, and we share that with you through ongoing assistance and advice. Need help finding the right analytical equipment for your application? Call us now on 02 9541 3500 or request a free consultation.

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