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Particle Analysis

Category Product Testing, Characterization & Forensic Lab Services
Test Particle Analysis
Characterization of particles and their size distribution is critical to a wide range of materials processing applications. EMSL Analytical has experience evaluating particles in applications ranging from pharmaceutical materials, to traditional powder processing, to nanoparticle research and development.
EMSL Analytical specializes in the characterization of particles and their size distribution by microscopic image analysis (PLM, SEM, TEM), mechanical sieving, and light scattering techniques. Particle analyzers using dynamic light scattering allow particles as small as 0.6 nm in size to be analyzed for their size distribution. We can also measure zeta potential, which is an important property for the control of agglomeration in a suspension. On the other hand, particle characterization by image analysis provides direct observation of the particles in question. Thus, issues related to particle morphology and agglomeration (which can cause misleading results with other size measurement techniques) can be readily observed and resolved.

SEM image of poly-dispersed powder sample
Image analysis is also an important technique when the particles in question are embedded in a solid matrix, such as nanoparticles in a polymer matrix. Particles in such a matrix can be analyzed via TEM after proper sample preparation. Other techniques such as XRD (X-ray diffraction) and SAXS (small angle X-ray scattering) are available at EMSL Analytical to provide further analysis.
For certain applications, image analysis can be performed on X-ray maps generated from SEM/EDX to show chemical differences among particles. This may allow for a size analysis of the specific phase of interest, or grain size distribution within a multi-component system, such as in a multi-phase alloy.

Cumulative area % distribution graph and fractional area % histogram of above sample

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