Laser diffraction analysis plays a surprisingly large role in everything from soil analysis to pharmaceutical analysis. But what it is and what is does requires an understanding of the complex science behind the technology.
Laser diffraction analysis can be termed as technology that uses the diffraction process of a laser to reveal the geometric dimensions of a particle, ranging from millimeters in size to nanometers. It is based on the Fraunhofer theory, which states that the amount of displaced light is equal to the size of the particle.
Laser diffraction analysis has a particular amount of importance when it comes to soil composition. It is often used to detect the distribution of particles in sentiment, such as blocks of clay. They are also used to detect chemicals within estuaries.
There are many important points to note when it comes to laser diffraction analysis:
- Research has shown that inadequate dispersion is the greatest source of error when measuring for particles that have a diameter of 20 um or less.
- The steps for laser diffraction analysis include: sampling of bulk powders, sub-sampling for specimen, preparing the specimen, setting up the instrument, measuring size, data analysis, and reporting the results.
- Standard laser diffraction analysis equipment can measure particles from 400nm to a few millimeters, while newer equipment heads to the lower range of nanometers.
The point of laser diffraction analysis can using a specific kind of technology for particle size analysis. The particle size analysis principle and particle size determination comes when the laser is passed over it, scattering a certain amount of light, which then can be measured to determine particle size.
One specialized version of laser diffraction analysis is called nanoparticle tracking analysis.
Nanoparticle tracking analysis uses a technique requiring an ultramicroscope along with laser diffraction to detect the size of particles in a liquid. Nanoparticle tracking analysis relies on a theory called Brownian motion, which makes use of the random motion of particles in a liquid.
Nanoparticle tracking analysis has applications in many industries. They include commercial, academic, and government laboratories who deal with issues like viruses and vaccine production, inks and pigments, the delivery of drugs into the human system, and orthopedic implants.
The value of a laser diffraction analysis or a nanoparticle tracking analysis can be seen in various applications in the modern world. For instance, particle size influences many properties within materials and is useful for determining a value for quality and performance. This is the case for powders, emulsions, aerosols, and suspensions.
There are even regulatory ways that particle size has been implemented. This is the case with the International Conference on Harmonization, which issued a guideline stating that particle size needed to be determined when the particle size was critical for the drug’s performance.
When it comes to laser diffraction analysis or nanoparticle tracking analysis, understanding the science is important for understanding the data and its impact on the assigned research project.