What to Know About Laser Diffraction for Particle Size Analysis

Analytical methods in research

When it comes to particle size analysis, laser diffraction is on of the most common methods. Here is what you should know about this technique.

Why Particle Size Matters
The size of the particles making up a material impacts how a product behaves under certain conditions. Measuring particle size can predict certain chemical reactions, determine the material’s density, avoid sedimentation, and measure the products ability to dissolve. Especially for pharmaceuticals, knowing these properties will help determine how drugs will interact with the body.

How Laser Diffraction Works
This technique measures particle size by shooting a laser at an object. When the light beam is scattered by a group of particles, the angle of the light indicates the particle size. This is because the light’s diffraction angle is inversely proportional to the particle size, so a larger angle demonstrates a smaller particle. This light diffraction is also called “edge diffraction” because it occurs on the edge of a particle.

How Particle Size is Calculated
Again, smaller particles will diffract the laser at higher angles and vice versa. The intensity of the light is also taken into account, as higher intensity diffraction indicates larger particles. Once these measurements are collected, they are calculated using an algorithm based on Mie Scattering Theory.

How to Ensure Accuracy
The accuracy of laser diffraction testing is determined by the laser diffraction particle size analyzer itself. Quality engineering and meticulous upkeep up the machine will ensure the best possible results. Of course, the best analysis will also come from the person, or nanoparticle measuring service, making the calculations.

Other Methods for Particle Size Analysis
While laser diffraction is one of the most common methods for measuring particle size, there are also other possible techniques such as Taylor dispersion analysis, nanoparticle tracking analysis, and spatial filter velocimetry. Laser diffraction is beneficial because it encompass a wider range of possible particle sizes than other methods.

Laser diffraction is an accurate, dependable method in measuring the size of a particle. This measurement, acting as a determinate of many material properties, is an essential indicator in the chemical and physical properties of a product. As meticulous methodology is essential, this form of testing is best performed in an analytical testing laboratory by industry professionals.

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