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Digital Microscopy

Digital microscopy or using a digital camera to capture images of the microscope’s field of view is a very useful tool when characterizing a sample or a dispersion. Questions such as how well is the sample dispersed in the liquid carrier, have the particles been affected by the dispersion steps (such as the use of ultrasonication) and/or are the particles dissolving can all be answered just by looking at the prepared sample under a microscope and taking images. These images assist in explaining and interpreting the particle size results when giving presentations, discussing with clients/colleagues/suppliers or to help confirm results which may not pass specifications.

PTL uses digital imaging coupled with polarizing light microscopy to support our method development, validation and transfer services in addition to investigating the root cause for out of specification results. Determination if a particle is crystalline by the USP definition through the digital documentation of birefringence also routinely performed. Feel free to ask one of our chemists if digital microscopy would be a benefit to include with your next project.

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  • Illustrates the shape of particles
  • Helpful as an orthogonal technique to more conventional particle sizing methods
  • Supports method development to validation projects
  • Allows for use of polarizing light microscopy


  • Does not provide measurement statistics
  • Particulate size needs to be greater than 1 um

Sample Requirements

Ideally, 1 gram of material would be provided; however, as little as 200 mg may be tested if sample quantity is limited.

The above sample quantities are preferred. If sample availability is further limited, please contact us for additional discussion.

Detection Range

The available objectives for the Nikon Lab-O-Phot are 4x, 10x, and 40x.

The available objectives for the Baush + Lomb Stereo Zoom 5 range from 0.8 to 4.0x.

The available objectives for the Malvern Panalytical Morphologi 4 are 2.5x, 5x, 10x, 20x, and 50x.

Data Reported

PTL provides a set of four images per sample.


Particle Technology Labs is able to provide digital microscopy via a digital camera with a Nikon Universal Microscope, Bausch + Lomb Stero Zoom, or Malvern Morphologi instrumentation.

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