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Nanotoxicology Characterization Requirements Satisfied by the Nanosight LM Series

Published on November 17, 2007 at 12:55 AM

NanoSight Limited, the nanoparticle characterisation company, reports growth in sales of the LM series of bench-top system for rapid and easy sizing and counting of individual nanoscale particles in suspension.

One of the most important emerging nanoscience areas is nanotoxicology. In this rapidly growing science, the characterisation of nanoparticles, including their size distribution in a biological medium is critical. Average size is not enough, as the smaller particles in a wide dispersion could well be the ones to enter and affect cells.

Professor Kenneth Dawson of the Department of Chemistry at University College Dublin has recently led a European Science Foundation symposium in Barcelona to investigate the interactions between nanoparticles/biomaterials and biological systems. This emerging topic attracted over 150 participants to look into alternative approaches to bio- and nano-safety.

Professor Dawson's work has been greatly enhanced since he started to use the NanoSight nanoparticle sizing system. "Whist we still use dynamic light scattering to find average particle size, we really need the complete particle distribution map in the sub-micron area in our work. The NanoSight instrument identifies and tracks individual particles, enabling us to see how they are organised (into clusters or otherwise) for the first time. It is impressive to see just how limited DLS is in these respects, where it will often smear or mask true cluster distribution."

NanoSight's systems offer the ability to obtain higher resolution particle size distribution profiles than other more time-consuming and expensive methods, from samples with minimal sample pre-treatment. After simply diluting to an acceptable concentration range, the instrument uses a patented laser illumination method to visualise individual nanoscale particles moving under Brownian motion. The system instantly recognises and quantifies polydispersed and multimodal samples as well as agglomerates and contaminants. The Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) analytical software package directly and simultaneously measures the dynamic behaviour and, thus, hydrodynamic size of each particle in a suspension and avoids the problems associated with the intensity bias to larger particles inherent in other bulk measurement dynamic light scattering techniques. The software enables real-time dynamic nanoparticle visualisation from which independent quantitative estimation of particle size and size distribution can be obtained.

The technology is not restricted to nanotoxicology and is finding uses in many areas across multiple industries. The system enables non-microscope users to quickly and accurately analyse nanoparticles in suspension and complements light scattering techniques such as DLS, which is also known as photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS). Nanosight's growing user base includes international companies such as the 3M Corporation, BASF, ICI, BP, Unilever and GSK.

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