Presentations include ‘Nanomaterial characterization techniques’ and ‘Nanoparticle tracking and analysis – technology, applications and standardization’  

As the development and use of nanotechnologies grows, aspects of nanosafety are becoming increasingly important, and the ability to measure and characterize nanoparticles is essential to improved understanding and control. Characterization techniques are therefore high on the agenda as speakers from Malvern Instruments participate in Nanosafety 2013, which takes from 20-22 November in Saarbrücken, Germany.

Ciaran Murphy, Head of Product Management at Malvern, will discuss ‘Challenges facing nanomaterial characterization’. Patrick Hole, who is Head of development for NanoSight, which Malvern acquired in September this year, will explain ‘Nanoparticle Tracking and Analysis – the technology, applications and its standardization’.

There has been much research and investment into the toxicological effects of nanomaterials on the environment. As yet there are no definitive findings on the relative weighting and importance of different physicochemical parameters, but research indicates that important parameters to consider include nanoparticle size, shape, surface area, surface energy and surface chemistry.

In ‘Challenges facing nanomaterial characterization’ Ciaran Murphy reviews some of the latest development activity using light scattering techniques and separations devices aimed at addressing the requirements for number based (quantitative) measurement of nanomaterials. The work focuses on the characterization of metallic nanoparticles (silver, gold) and looks at how separation devices (FFF, GPC, Fluidics) can be combined with detectors for improved resolution in line with the demands of the EU nanomaterials definition.

Patrick Hole explains in detail how Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) directly sizes and visualizes nanoscale particles from 10 to 2000 nm in liquids, with high-resolution, in real time and with minimal sample preparation. NTA has become rapidly adopted across many applications and with this comes a need for standardization. In his presentation, Patrick Hole examines not only the NTA technology and its applications, but also the standardization work undertaken to support it and also expands on how NTA compares with alternative technologies available.

Malvern offers a broad portfolio of solutions for nanoparticle characterization, which now encompasses the NanoSight range of NanoParticle Tracking Analysis systems. These join the established Zetasizer family of instruments which employ light scattering techniques to measure particle size, zeta potential and molecular weight; Viscotek GPC/SEC systems that are widely used to determine the molecular weight, size and structure of polymers, proteins and polysaccharides; the recently added Archimedes in which the technique of Resonant Mass Measurement is used to detect and accurately count particles, and measure their buoyant mass, dry mass and size; and the new Viscosizer 200 for automated micro-viscosity measurement and molecular sizing.