Agilent buys Particle Sizing Systems

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Colloid

Agilent has continued its summer spending spree with the
acquisition of US-based Particle Sizing Systems that will further
bolster the firm's Materials Science Services Unit (MSSU).

The acquisition of Particle Sizing Systems will enable Agilent to sell a whole range of particle sizing and analysis systems from electron microscopes (EM), light scattering instruments and multi-frequency electroacoustic particle analysers.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed; however Agilent has made job offers to the majority of Particle Sizing Systems employees.

Agilent's Life Science and Chemical Analysis (LSCA) division's latest acquisition, the fifth announced this year, follows in the wake of last weeks Nano Instruments acquisition from

MTS Systems Corp.

"This is one of a series of acquisitions Agilent is making to create a complete portfolio of particle-measurement solutions that is ready for the market today ," said Eric Endicott, public relations manager for Agilent's LSCA division.

Particle Sizing Systems' instruments measure the size and concentration of relatively weak particle solutions by detecting the light scattered from particles as they pass through a laser beam.

This is in contrast to the instruments obtained during March's acquisition of Colloidal Dynamics that can measure both particle size and zeta potential (electrokinetic potential) using measurement techniques known as electroacoustics and ultrasonic attenuation.

"With the growth of products based on nanomaterials, from medicines to diesel fuel catalysts, understanding the size of these particles is increasingly important both for the manufacturer to control product performance and stability, and to understand the impact of these new materials on the environment," said Mike Gasparian, vice president of Agilent's MSSU.

The importance of being able to characterise nanomaterials was recently emphasised in a report from the Council of Canadian Academies that stressed that there are "inadequate data to inform quantitative risk assessments on current and emerging nanomaterials" as their small size may give them "enhanced toxicological effects."

Particle Sizing Systems has developed a range of products that include single particle optical sensing (SPOS) systems to dynamic light scattering (DLS) instruments suitable for measuring the particle size and stability in materials ranging from soft drinks to inkjet inks to semiconductor polishing slurries.

The Nicomp line of DLS instruments measures particle size and zeta potential of nanoparticles as small as 1 nm (the size of individual protein molecules or 1/100,000th of the diameter of a human hair).

With the growth of products based on nanomaterials, from medicines to diesel fuel catalysts, understanding the size of these particles is increasingly important both for the manufacturer to control product performance and stability, and to understand the impact of these new materials on the environment.

The Accusizer line of SPOS instruments measures the size of large particles in the range of 0.5 microns to 2.5 mm and measures the size and concentration of a few large particles in a sea of small particles.

These large particles are often caused by the aggregation of smaller nanoparticles and can cause undesirable product properties that range from clogged inkjet heads to potentially fatal formulations of lipid emulsions for intravenous injection. "

There is no one technology that measures all particles; however, the combination of technologies from Particle Sizing Systems and recently acquired Colloidal Dynamics will give customers access to technology that measures the full spectrum of particles from small nanoparticles to large particle agglomerates," said Endicott.

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