Nano Characterization Lab

nano characterization services

NANO CHARACTERIZATION LAB

The regulatory requirements governing the use of nanoparticles and other nanomaterials in consumer products are becoming more stringent. For example, manufacturers making new nanomaterials are required by the EPA to provide comprehensive information on the nanomaterial prior to manufacturing.

Nanoparticle and nanomaterial characterization offers manufacturing benefits too, providing insight into the fundamental properties of these novel materials. The nanoparticle size distribution, morphology, structure, and elemental composition all affect the behavior and the health and environmental impact of nanomaterial-bearing products.

Nanoparticle Size Distribution Analysis

Synthesized nanoparticles typically show a normal or near normal size distribution. The size distribution is a critical parameter governing the impact of nanoparticles on product performance and the propensity for nanoparticle release. The actual particle size distribution of nanoparticles is most accurately determined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

TEM image silica nanoparticles
TEM image of silica nanoparticles
The size distribution of silica nanoparticles measured by TEM
The size distribution of silica nanoparticles measured by TEM
Nanoparticle Morphology and Structural Analysis

Nanoparticles come in different shapes and different sizes:

TEM image of C60 nanoparticles
TEM image of C60 nanoparticles
  TEM image of nickel nanoparticles
TEM image of nickel nanoparticles

The shape/morphology of the nanoparticles can have a controlling effect on their performance in specific applications. Nanoparticle shape/morphology parameters (e.g. aspect ratio, circularity, etc.) can only be determined by microscopical methods, usually TEM.

Surface texture or surface structure (for example, the degree of coating of a nanoparticle) can also be keys to functionality. High resolution field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) helps to answer questions about the surface properties of nanoparticles and other nanomaterials. FE-SEM and TEM can each be utilized to answer questions about coating thickness and coating coverage of coated nanoparticles.

FE-SEM image of Mg(OH)2 nanoparticles
FE-SEM image of Mg(OH)2 nanoparticles

High resolution TEM (HR-TEM) is an invaluable tool in showing the internal structure of nanoparticles, including carbon nanotubes. TEM electron diffraction can show the crystal structure of nanomaterials, and lattice imaging can determine the size and orientation of crystalline domains.

Electron diffraction of a nanomaterial
Electron diffraction of a nanomaterial
TEM lattice image of graphitized carbon
TEM lattice image of graphitized carbon
TEM image of multi-wall carbon nanotubes
TEM image of multi-wall carbon nanotubes

Nanoparticle Composition Analysis

With an energy dispersive x-ray spectrometer coupled to the TEM, we can easily obtain the elemental composition of nanoparticles, ensuring the composition is as specified.

EDS spectrum of a carbon nanoparticle. The copper (Cu) is from the TEM sample grid.
EDS spectrum of a carbon nanoparticle. The copper (Cu) is from the TEM sample grid.

Confocal Raman spectroscopy allows us to take the compositional characterization of nanoparticles a critical step further, providing chemical compound identification so that you know that the particles are composed of the chemical phase you expect.

Raman analysis of single-wall carbon nanotube
Raman analysis of single-wall carbon nanotube

Nano Characterization Services

At MVA Scientific Consultants, we understand the challenges involved in the characterization of nanoparticles and staying in compliance with regulatory agencies such as the EPA. We work personally with clients to provide nano characterization services to cater to their needs. We will help our clients answer any questions from regulatory agencies regarding the nano characterization analytical methods, data accuracy and robustness of the experiments.

The services offered at our nano characterization lab include:

  • Nanoparticle characterization by Raman spectroscopy
  • Nanoparticle characterization by transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
  • Nanoparticle characterization by high resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • Nanoparticle air release exposure monitoring
  • Nanoparticle size distribution analysis
  • Nanoparticle morphology and structural analysis
  • Nanoparticle elemental composition analysis
More info and case studies are available on our Nanomaterials Characterization page.