Light scattering with the Zetasizer owes part of its success to the ease of use integral in its default DTS software. The intuitive windows environment lets you setup a measurement (either in “manual” or in “standard operating procedure” mode) and all that’s left is to press the big green Start button. Decades of experience with light scattering have allowed the development of the Zetasizer platform with built in expert knowledge. In fact the first digital correlator (the core piece enabling determination of the correlation function for dynamic light scattering) to be commercially available was designed at Malvern . Thus it goes without saying that there is a lot more power in the system than what meets the eye.
Optional research software features Zetasizer – optional
Many of these advanced settings and features are defaulted to their most practical values. Yet they can be accessed to those willing to do so. Caution: Do not read beyond unless you already are or plan to deeply familiarize yourself with light scattering. OK, with the warning out of the way, here are but a few of the settings that are accessible in the advanced research features
- Core-shell model to test the influence of refractive index in Mie scattering
- Logarithmic and linear correlator settings
- Mutliple narrow mode, CONTIN, discrete exponential fit settings
- Cumulant order, weighting, fit range
- Rayleigh-Gans Debye selection or Mie scattering (see FAQ-Mie-Equations)
- White Mangelsdorf theory, complex ionic dispersants
A more detailed description of these parameters and their settings can be found in the Zetasizer Nano Research Grade Software Features. Yet this is not meant for general use, and if unfamiliar with light scattering could lead to confusion. That’s why these features are not apparent when the standard software is opened.
How to try out the research software
Provided you acknowledge that this is not something to confront an inexperienced novice light scatterer, there is a way to test out and experience these advanced research features within the Zetasizer software. For a trial access go to Tools –> Options –> Feature Keys There will be a trial key specifically generated for your software installation. “The description expands to: These features allow greater control over many aspects of data acquisition and processing. For a 30-day trial enter the licence xxxxxxxxx” Press the Install licence key button. Close and restart the software, which will then show an enabled Features button in the far right software corner on the bottom. Click on it to show details for the particular feature key.
Final recommendation: even if you do decide to get and enable the research grade software features, it is advisable to make the standard desktop shortcut start without research mode. This is accomplished with a shortcut where the target gets appended with the option -noresearch.
 Robert Pecora in Dynamic Light Scattering : Applications of Photon Correlation Spectroscopy, ed. R. Pecora, page 4, Plenum Press New York (1985) : “…The Pike group at Malvern designed the first commercial digital correlator…”
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