Southern Cross University expands their analytical services with their new Morphologi G3-ID installation.

13 Oct, 2014 | Guides & Resources
Southern Cross University expands their analytical services with their new Morphologi G3-ID installation.

ATA Scientific recently installed the first Morphologi G3-ID in Australia at Southern Cross University (SCU) within the School of Science, Environment and Engineering. The instrument is intended to be used primarily by researchers and students at SCU and other research institutions to support cutting-edge research involving environmental particles. The instrument will also be available for external commercial work as per the details below.

The Morphologi G3-ID from Malvern Instruments provides a unique capability to accurately measure particles in the range of 0.5 to 1000 µm.  An integrated dry powder dispersion system automates sample preparation for repeatable and reproducible measurements of a wide range of samples. A choice of accessories supports analysis of samples on microscope slides, in wet suspensions or on membrane filters. When equipped with a Raman microprobe, the Morphologi G3-ID gains the additional ability to chemically identify particles enabling the differentiation of chemical components within a blend and the identification of foreign contaminants. The software provides simple operation with automatic selection, targeting and rapid chemical classification of thousands of individual particles. Automated and unattended SOP operation delivers substantial time savings by allowing users to get on with other tasks while the instrument completes the measurements.

Morphologi G3-ID system

Rapid and accurate characterisation of different particles in a sample is seen as a challenge across many different industries and research areas. A particle’s shape, size and composition has the capacity to modify the properties of a powder, such as flow ability, surface area and dissolution rate, which may ultimately affect final product quality.  In order to characterise these particle properties, a suitable and robust analytical method is required.

Traditional manual microscopy methods have been limited to imaging and have shown to be both subjective and time consuming. Automated image analysis systems provide a means for improved statistical classification of particles, enabling differentiation based on their size and morphological parameters. The inclusion of Raman spectroscopic measurements alongside imaging provides chemical identification of particles, which aids further understanding of the type of processes that may be occurring with the sample (e.g cohesion or adhesion). Together, these techniques enable users to ensure product quality remains consistent, or to identify the cause of a problem when things go wrong.

The Morphologi G3-ID system combines automated static imaging with chemical identification of individual particles using Raman spectroscopy in one platform. Rapid and accurate analysis leads to significant cost and efficiency savings relative to manual microscopy, in addition to greater data integrity.

The Morphologi G3-ID installed is being used to support research involving several different groups at Southern Cross University. At present, the main projects are:

  • characterising the size, concentration and morphology of filaments of the marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium being grown under different environmental conditions as part of a project aimed at understanding how this organism responds to different environmental conditions.
  • characterising the morphology and chemical identity of major mineral phases in agricultural soils
  • attempting to determine characteristic Raman spectra for organic residues on archaeological tools
  • attempting to determine markers for human activity in paleo soils
  • characterising the transformation of calcium carbonate minerals under varying environmental conditions.

“The Malvern Morphologi G3-ID has saved countless hours on tasks that were previously performed using manual microscopy, and opened new cutting-edge research opportunities in a wide range of areas, many of them unexpected. After just four months, the instrument is already heavily used by researchers and students at Southern Cross University working on a wide range of different projects” said Andrew Rose, Associate Professor within Southern Cross GeoScience at Southern Cross University, Australia.

The instrument was purchased as part of a suite of advanced particle characterisation equipment associated with an ARC LIEF grant entitled “an integrated facility for the advanced characterisation of environmental particles”. The aim of the LIEF grant is to support a range of different research projects at SCU (particularly other ARC-funded projects) that rely on characterisation of particle size, shape and chemical identity in the fields of including sediment geochemistry, contaminant mobility, and biogeochemistry.

Overall the system has proven robust, reliable, easy to use and very popular! It is already in use for most of the week for the variety of projects mentioned above. The automated microscopy and image analysis functions are particularly popular for tasks that would previously have been performed using manual microscopy, and the Raman spectroscopy has been adopted by several users as a fingerprinting tool for a range of different natural particles.

The instrument will be available for collaborative work with researchers from other research institutions, and for commercial work through the university’s Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL). The EAL uses qualified analysts to run samples for commercial clients with appropriate QA/QC and reporting standards. The services offered and indicative fee structure for commercial samples is as follows:

Analysis Indicative Price (GST exclusive) **
1. Initial sample evaluation and method development * $240 per sample type
2. Standard size and morphology analysis $150 per sample
3. Non-standard size and morphology report (reanalysis of existing data) $80 per sample
4. Standard chemical differentiation analysis by Raman spectroscopy (% contaminant only) $260 per sample
5. Identification of additional chemical components by Raman spectroscopy: base rate $80 per sample
6. Identification of additional chemical components by Raman spectroscopy $25per additional component

* This charge applies to all new clients and sample types to enable evaluation of the method suitability and analysis services that we can offer

** Indicative prices are based on dry, non-hazardous, easily dispersed powders. A detailed quote will be provided after initial sample evaluation

The SCU group is in the process of establishing a dedicated website for instrument bookings and contacts. However in the meantime, interested users can refer to the Environmental Analysis Laboratory website:

Left : A/Prof Andrew Rose (SCU – Geosciences), Middle:  Ms Nadia Topler (Technical Officer – Environmental Analysis Lab), Right:  Debbie Huck-Jones (Malvern Instruments)

ATA Scientific has been supporting customers throughout Australia and New Zealand for more than 25 years. Our dedicated local service team have a long history of providing excellent customer service and support. For more information, please contact us.

ATA Scientific Pty Ltd
+61 2 9541 3500