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Nanotechnology and new product development are experiencing exponential growth. Despite the amount of characterisation tools that is available for off-line analysis, it is currently not possible to monitor the synthesis nanomaterials in-line during production.
In the context of the EU In-Sight project, which ended on 1 May, new analytical tools were developed for real-time monitoring by a consortium of two research organisations and eight SMEs from the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain and Israel. TNO was project coordinator.
Five complementary techniques are used to analyse these characteristics: optical microscopy and light scattering (visualising the particles in a so-called microfluidic flow cell), ultrasonic transmission spectroscopy (determining particle concentration and size) and Raman spectroscopy and LiBS (identifying the chemical composition and structure). A specially developed In-Sight software package combines the analysis results.
The novel instrument can be used to identify the behaviour of nanoparticles during synthesis, modification and formulation (application in a product). This enhances quality, consistency and the yield of nanomaterials, while facilitating faster development of new products.
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