Nanoparticle Analysis Made Simple

In recent months the Dynamic Light Scattering website has gone into considerable detail on the principles by which this method gives us information on particle size. I would now like to simplify things and talk about what the Beckman Coulter DelsaMax family of dynamic light scattering instruments actually does to make life easier for those involved in particle characterisation.

First of all, I should stress that the DelsaMax family is not just for sizing. It also contains instruments for determination of zeta potential, or electrophoretic mobility as it is sometimes known. These nanoparticle size analysis instruments are the fastest and most user-friendly available on the market today. It should also be noted that they have been optimised for use with biological products and nanoparticle samples.

Looking at the DelsaMax PRO as an example, it features two independent detection systems. The first is a back-scattering photodiode for sizing (as discussed at length in the last few posts). The second is an array of 31 detectors which give 31 independent determinations of zeta potential.

Importantly, the sizing and zeta potential detectors all work simultaneously. This saves time and is especially vital when dealing with biological materials. In the DelsaMax PRO, the detection process can take less than a second, while in most other instruments it takes almost a minute – by which time the electric field applied will have denatured the sample’s proteins.

To give an idea of how simple the DelsaMax analysers are to operate, compared to the competition, consider the way in which samples are handled. In the DelsaMax instruments, they are injected straight into the ‘in’ port using a syringe – with no need for complex cuvettes or similar vessels. Used samples can either be collected as waste from the ‘out’ port or saved for re-use. Cleaning of the machine after analysis is also very easy.

I will say more about what the instruments are like to work with in practice in my next post, but in the meantime please visit if you would like to know more.

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