Dynamic Imaging at Particle Technology Labs Advanced Particle Sizing and Characterization

Particle Technology Labs is pleased to announce the recent installation of our newest dynamic image analyzer, Particulate System’s Particle Insight. Approved for cGMP analysis, the Particle Insight joins our other dynamic instrument, the Malvern Sysmex FPIA-3000.

Many times, particle size distribution analysis alone provides adequate information about a material’s physical characteristics. However, in cases where the shape of the particles can affect performance and quality of the end product, more detailed information may be needed. For these applications, dynamic image analysis provides thorough and accurate particle shape characteristic measurements.

With the ability to analyze thousands of particles in the same amount of time needed to measure just a small number by manual microscopy or static image analysis, this state-of-the-art dynamic imaging instrument not only measures particle size, but also defines and characterizes particle shape, reporting detailed variations between samples in a fraction of the time.

While instruments such as laser diffractors provide a “size” of particles, the theory for data processing assumes the particles are spherical and require the operator to enter known optical properties of the particle and carrier for best results. Dynamic imaging instrumentation has the ability to not only size particles, but also detect and enumerate agglomerates, over-sized particles and contaminant particles without the need for the spherical shape assumption nor knowledge of the suspension’s optical properties. It can accurately measure the size of non-spherical particles such as needle-shaped crystals by providing length and width data, and can detect differences in optical properties such as transparency. Values called “shape factors” are reported and can be used to quantify differences in particle shape amongst a set of samples. The Particle Insight dynamic image analysis instrument can also potentially differentiate between individual components within a mixture on the basis of morphological or optical characteristics.

Dynamic imaging works by using a high resolution digital camera to capture images of dispersed particulate in a liquid suspension.  This liquid suspension is circulated through an optical cell, during which the digital camera captures images of the particles. Using digital thresholding techniques, images of particles are automatically and objectively measured, analyzed and classified for inclusion/exclusion. In reporting, images are displayed together with particle size and shape data, providing a very effective visual verification of results. The analytical technique is summarized in ISO standard 13322-2:2006 Particle size analysis — Image analysis methods — Part 2: Dynamic image analysis methods.

The Particle Insight provides a robust statistical measurement of particles in a sample as a whole. Compared to manual microscopy or static image analysis, dynamic imaging analyzes a larger number of particles in a shorter amount of time, while also reducing operator subjectivity, leading to more reliable and accurate results. In addition, due to the shorter analysis time, these analyses can be offered as a more cost effective shape measurement option to our clients.  Limitations to the instrument’s capabilities exist of course, so please contact us to discuss if your sample is applicable.

Visit our Image Analysis page on our website for more information.