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Particle Shape Analysis with FlowCam Image Analysers

The various particle shapes within a sample may be indicative of its origin, or its physio- and biochemical characteristics. However, samples are often characterised with respect to particle size rather than morphology. Typical counters use a standard volumetric characterisation technique to measure the concentration of particles in a sample, which requires a singular measurement for particle size. This is complicated by particles with irregular morphologies. The size of acicular, angular, disc-like, and other asymmetrical particle morphologies is typically presented as an equivalent spherical diameter (ESD), technically bypassing the issue of particle shape.

Dynamic imaging technologies have succeeded traditional instruments by offering simultaneous particle counting, sizing, and imaging for robust sample characterisations with respect to concentration, size, and morphology. This offers quantitative insights into particle shape, including: circularity; ESD; length; width; and more.

This blog post will explore two of the leading particle shape analysers equipped with dynamic imaging particle analysis (DIPA) in more detail.

FlowCam Nano: Nanoscale Morphology Analysis

The FlowCam Nano was introduced as a unique tool for the analysis of, and research and development into, parenteral pharmaceuticals. It has proven useful in the identification of contaminant elements as a function of particle shape and morphology.

It utilises oil immersion flow microscopy to detect and acquire images of dispersed particles as small as 300 nanometres (nm) and as large as 30 micrometres (μm). These particles flow across the cross-section of an intermittent light source and a digital camera, which captures imagery with a frame rate of up to 120 frames per second (FPS). These images can then be sorted and stored by their morphological characteristics, enabling chemists to identify potential contaminant elements for quality control and quality assurance.

FlowCam Macro: Larger Particle Shape Analysis

The FlowCam Macro uses a similar fluidic sample flow methodology to assess larger particles from 50 μm up to a maximum 5 mm in size. This has been applied in a broad range of end-use applications from food and beverage analysis to zooplankton identification and characterisation.

It can provide over thirty distinct morphological measurements per particle, offering robust particle shape and size analysis with superior image quality. These include basic particle shape parameters such as aspect ratio, area based diameter (ABD), and ABD- or ESD-based volume. More complex morphological parameters such as circularity, compactness, and geodesic properties can also be determined.

Particle Shape Analysis with Meritics

Meritics is the UK’s foremost supplier of particle analysers for research and development and quality control applications. We offer a tailored range of DIPA particle analysers to maximise the reliability and statistical relevance of your results, with the highest possible throughput.

If you would like any more information about performing particle shape analysis with Meritics products, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.