By Jorie Kassel – Laboratory Division Manager
Laser diffraction is a frequently requested technique in the particle characterization industry, but how do you know if it’s right for your material and process?
The experts at Particle Technology Labs have years of experience evaluating powders, semi-solid products, and suspensions and can help determine if this particle sizing technique is right for you.
What is Laser Diffraction?
Laser Diffraction is considered an ensemble technique. This means instead of determining the size distribution one particle at a time (such as with a particle counter), it does so by measuring the light scatter from a cloud or group of particles as it passes through a light source (a laser beam in this case) all at once. The angle of scatter is inversely proportional to the particle size (i.e., small particles scatter light at larger angles). This light scatter, referred to as a diffraction pattern, is then reported as an equivalent spherical diameter within the instrument software based on optical parameters input by the operator. Like many other particle sizing techniques, laser diffraction assumes that the particle is spherical to allow the reporting of a single value…the diameter of a sphere which would scatter the same angle of light detected.