Malvern Instruments is heading to Pittcon 2015 this weekend in New Orleans, and while a lot of our time and energy is focused on making sure people get a great experience when visiting our booth (#3,545) or attending our short courses, we’re always keen to see what else is going on in the great conference and networking program. While preparing material for next week, I took a look at the conference program and was excited to see the description of the Wallace H. Coulter lecture that Naomi J. Halas, who is the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University, will be giving on Sunday at 4.30pm.

Naomi’s talk, “Plasmonics: Shedding Light on Cross-Cutting Science and Technologies”, will discuss how metallic nanoparticles are becoming more widely used as central tools in the nanoscale manipulation of light across a range of chemical sciences and engineering applications – very apt given that we are celebrating the International Year of Light. From the abstract on the Pittcon website, I can see that Naomi’s talk will describe a range of applications for these materials, from detecting single molecules and for following chemical reactions, to photocatalysis and high-efficiency solar steam generation. This has to be a must-see for anyone who is arriving in time !

I’d recommend spending some time checking out the media articles on the Halas Nanophotonics Group at Rice University website. These describe the recent work published by the group, including the “heated gold nanoshells”, used in cancer trials, which appear to help kill diseased cells at a previously unreachable root level, as described in this video profiling Naomi:

All of this work is of particular interest to me, as I am sure that a Zetasizer Nano instrument could assist with the characterization challenges faced by this particular research group, in terms of measuring particle size, zeta potential and charge. In fact, some of the group’s papers refer to Zetasizer, so it’s probable that they are using Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) on a daily basis!

Zetasizer is not the only Malvern technology which could be of benefit in this kind of research. Our Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) instruments  can not only visualize nanoparticles in a dispersion, but also provide particle-by-particle methodology to produce high resolution results for particle size distribution and concentration.

If you’re attending Pittcon, do try to make time to attend Naomi’s talk which is sure to be both fascinating and inspirational.  If you would like to know more about how we can help the challenges you face with characterization of nanoparticles, please come along to visit us at booth 3545 to talk to our experts and see the Zetasizer and NanoSight instruments in person.  We’ll be running a couple of contests at the event, so look out for more details of those next week.

For more information about the measurement of nanoparticles by DLS or NTA, please take a look at the following resources:

Application Notes:

Characterization of Colloidal Gold Using Dynamic Light Scattering

Studying Structural Changes of Rod-like Nanoparticles Using Dynamic Light Scattering

Assessing Drug Encapsulation Efficiency using Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis

Characterization of nanoparticle size and state in nanotoxicological and ecotoxicological studies using Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA)


New views in nanoparticle characterization: What Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis adds to the characterization toolbox

Nanoparticle characterization within the drug delivery industry

Nanotechnology characterization techniques