“Seeing” the Invisible….
Written by: Stephen Ball
So here goes my first attempt at writing a Blog! My name is Stephen Ball, and I recently joined Malvern Instruments as Product Marketing Manager. I have just been introduced to the concept of blogging, which is now one of my new responsibilities. All being well, you should see plenty more blogs from me in the future!
I thought I would start my first blog by talking about what I have learnt so far during my intensive induction at Malvern Instruments. Having been founded in the 1960s, Malvern Instruments has kept on growing and now manufactures a wide range of instrumentation, from light scattering detectors for particle size measurements, to rheometers for investigation into how a material flows when a force is applied to it, and GPC/SEC instrumentation for characterizing materials such as polymers and proteins.
I understand chromatography, such as GPC/SEC, and Rheology, however one of the hardest things to my head around is the existence of nanoparticles. OK, I admit, nanoparticles are not really “invisible”, but are so small that they are impossible to see by the naked eye. So, how do we know they are really there?
Nanoparticles are typically between 1 and 100 nanometres in size, and were even around in the 9th century when they were used to create a glittering surface on pottery! Nowadays, you would expect to come across nanoparticles in a variety of different fields, from the semi conductivity industry to the preparation of sunscreens, and even have biomedical applications, such as drug carriers (for example, liposomes used as delivery systems for anticancer drugs).
Having used some of Malvern’s Zetasizer instruments in the lab, I now know that is possible to “see” nanoparticles by Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS). Zetasizer instruments can not only measure particle size and molecular weight by DLS, but also give information about zeta potential and protein structure. Visit the Malvern website to find out more.