27 May 2010: Malvern, UK: A new application note describing a method for automating measurement of size and shape of micron scale beads is now available on the Malvern Instruments website. Careful control of bead size and shape is critically important in a wide range of applications including sensors, medical devices, chromatography and material fabrication. The presence of mis-shapen or fused beads may lead to problems with product performance. Using Malvern’s Morphologi G3 particle characterization system, automated measurements can be performed considerably more quickly than with manual microscopy and are not subject to the same operator variability. The application note, entitled; ‘Characterizing the Monodispersity of Beads Using the Morphologi G3’, is free to download at: http://www.malvern.com/sphericalbeads

Monodisperse spherical beads will pack in a way that results in a fairly well-defined network of pores which can be exploited in sensing applications. For example, a medical sensing device can depend on agglomeration of a protein to give a positive result. In this case, the agglomerated protein will not pass through the channels. A negative result is obtained when there is no agglomeration and no sample retention. The presence of fines in the packing material can block these pores and render the device unreliable by causing retention of smaller particles.

Malvern’s Morphologi G3 combines microscopy and image analysis to measure the size, shape and intensity of particles from 0.5 to 10000 mm. It captures and stores images of every particle examined. Powerful software means that with just a few clicks of the mouse, data is transformed into useful information, allowing users to make decisions quickly and with confidence.

The Morphologi G3 particle characterization system is ideally suited to determining the quality and monodispersity of micron sized beads as well as identifying non-spherical particles. By analyzing shape as well as size, the Morphologi G3 adds a new dimension to the usefulness of particle characterization data. The system is automated, intuitive to use and requires little sample preparation.