We’ve just released NTA 3.0, a new version of the software that drives our NanoSight Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) systems. I chatted to Jonathan Smith, Senior Software & Systems Leader here at Malvern, who is the brains behind the development of the new software. He gave me the lowdown on what we can expect from the update.
What key things you were looking to achieve with NTA 3.0?
It was important to us to make the measurement procedure more consistent and clear for new or inexperienced users, so that our instruments are easier to use. This was twinned with simplifying the interface and removing confusing/unnecessary/incomplete features and options. We also wanted to encourage repeat measurements for good scientific practice. And ultimately, we aimed to improve the accuracy and resolution of size distributions.
How did NanoSight users play a part in the development of NTA 3.0?
Working with our users has had a significant influence on how the new interface has been designed. The way we have been training users and encouraging them to make measurements didn’t really fit in with how NTA had been developed. To do a standard measurement you had to make your way through advanced menus and use different sections of the software for different parts of the measurement, and this was confusing for new and inexperienced users. The new software is much more intuitive, making it simpler to make measurements for both new and more experienced users. This new platform is also easier to add new features into, so direct user feedback will play an even bigger part in the next software release.
What main changes will users notice when they upgrade?
NTA 3.0 has been built around a measurement procedure which takes a user through an entire measurement including repeat analyses. This entails setting up an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) with some basic details and then letting the software take you through the process of capture and analysis. Some of the improved features you will notice include more accurate particle size distributions, with higher resolution for poly-disperse samples, improved vibration correction and noise reduction.
Users running systems with hardware communication (temperature control etc…), this is now integrated and separate communication programs no longer need to be run separately. If you’re using an NS500/NS300, you will also notice that a hardware tab replaces the floating hardware window.
What in your opinion is the most improved aspect?
The new interface is much cleaner and simpler, and makes it much easier for users to get started with the software. It should make training and support easier, while also helping users to get more repeatable and reproducible data. Internally, we will have much more flexibiliy to develop and add new features, so users can look forward to lots of extras in the next release.
Any tips for users getting to grips with the new software?
We’ve made it really easy to get going with the new software – take a quick look at the video included with the download and it should tell you everything you need to know. The video takes you through a standard measurement and is only a few minutes long. Basically, to get started, go to the SOP tab, select standard measurement, fill in a few details and click ‘Create and Run’. The software will take you through the rest. It’s that simple.
You can download the new software for free by clicking on the product you use below:
If you have any questions about upgrading or using NTA 3.0, please contact the helpdesk in your country – you can find the email address/phone number via this link. We’d also love to hear any feedback you have on the new software – you can get in touch and share your thoughts via the Nanosight Users Group on Linkedin.