ink characterization

Ink formulation screening: Tools for increased throughput

I thought I would take this opportunity to share some data that was collected in one of our laboratories at the Malvern Instruments headquarters in the UK. We have been working with various  batches of blue and red inks, and using the Zetasizer Nano ZSP to measure parameters related to the performance of ink formulations (such as particle size).

Utilizing the Zetasizer NanoSampler (our automated sample introduction accessory), this not only allowed the instrument to measure the samples unsupervised (even overnight!), but we were able to perform more measurements across more batches in the same amount of time. This enabled us to collate more data in the confidence that any handling errors would be eliminated by this simple automation accessory.

The blue and red ink samples were supplied as a 6% w/v suspension; 1 mL of each was added to 999 mL of distilled water (to give a dilution factor of 1000) and aliquots were transferred to vials before loading into the NanoSampler. Five batches were analyzed, with 3 vials taken per batch, 3 aliquots per vial and 3 measurements per aliquot.

The charts below show overlays of the repeat measurements made using the NanoSampler, for both the red and blue ink:

red ink characterization
Overlaid distribution from multiple batches of red ink, with mean Z-average size of 134.9 nm (diameter)

Ink formulation analysis

blue ink characterization
Overlaid distribution from multiple batches of blue ink, with mean Z-average size of 116.2 nm (diameter)

As you can see, the blue ink shows a slightly smaller size distribution than the red ink, with a broader polydispersity index (PDI). Excellent agreement was obtained between batches, vials and aliquots, showing that the milling process was consistent across batches.

This work will be written up as a formal application note shortly, however I am sure you will be able to see already that the NanoSampler is an excellent tool for increasing the throughput of your ink formulation screening,  provide increased certainty in the accuracy of your measurements, and maximize the usage of your Zetasizer Nano by giving you round the clock utilization.

The video below gives an introduction to the new NanoSampler for the Zetasizer Nano.

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