Analytical Contract Lab Providing Particle Size and Characterization Testing Services

(630) 969-2703

Sample Process

We have created an infographic that contains a simple overview of our sample process from start to finish.  Please click here to view.

Gas Adsorption & Porosimetry Analyses at PTL

At PTL, our trained chemists perform routine as well as advanced material characterization analysis services. They also conduct method developments, validations and execute transfer protocols all while solving complex problems for clients from a variety of industries. These industries include pharmaceutical, environmental, petrochemical, manufacturing, cosmetics, dietary supplements, food and beverage and others.


Among the many types of particle sizing and characterization services offered at PTL, our expert chemists perform analyses using various gas physisorption techniques to determine BET surface area. Porosimetry can be measured using gas adsorption and mercury techniques depending on the material's pore size. We follow standard methods from various organizations such as ISO, USP, and ASTM where applicable.


To determine the most appropriate techniques for your surface characterization needs, please contact us by clicking here.


Following is a brief description of PTL's BET surface area analysis, micropore/mesopore measurement and mercury intrusion porosimitry testing.



Surface area analysis detects and measures the cracks or crevasses, surface roughness, or accessible pores of particles, all of which can greatly affect the performance and behavior of a material. Pharmaceuticals, catalysts, adsorbents, materials for separation technologies, pigments, cosmetics, geologic & construction materials are just some materials that exhibit varying physical properties and effectiveness depending on their surface area and porosity.


The BET (Brunauer, Emmett and Teller) Theory is commonly used to evaluate the gas adsorption data and generate a Specific Surface Area (SSA) result expressed in units of area per mass of sample (m2/g). Briefly, this method involves allowing a clean and dry sample to adsorb a select inert gas such as nitrogen or krypton at liquid nitrogen temperature. The BET theory is subsequently applied to interpret the adsorption data into information on the surface area.

For more detailed information about BET surface area analysis, click here.


Nanoporous materials are found in many research and industrial applications, including controlled drug delivery, energy conversion and storage, etc. A comprehensive characterization of nanoporous materials with regard to pore size, surface area, and pore size distribution is required in order to select and optimize the performance of these materials.


To determine the porosity of a material, various techniques may be employed depending on the size of the pores present and the chemical characteristics of the material. Per the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), porous materials can be categorized as containing micropores (< 2 nm in pore diameter), mesopores (2-50 nm in pore diameter), and/or macropores (> 50 nm in pore diameter).


Micropores are defined as pores with internal diameters of less than 2 nm. Characterization of the micropores involves the use of physisorptive gases that can penetrate into the pores under investigation. Gases used are those which are physically bound at the solid surface, a process referred to as physisorption; for example, N2 at 77K, Ar at 87K, and CO2 at 273K. Micropores are filled at very low relative pressure (P/P0), therefore, specialized instrumentation is required to measure these low pressures.


For more detailed information about Micropore analysis click here.



The fundamental principles and procedures of mesopore measurement are similar to BET surface area analysis using the static volumetric method. First, any excess adsorbed gases are removed from the sample surface using vacuum or inert gas flow, typically at elevated temperature. Then the adsorbate gas, most commonly nitrogen, is allowed to adsorb onto and desorb from the surface at liquid nitrogen temperature at varying relative pressures. The use of other gases such as argon at liquid argon temperature has also been proven beneficial, especially if investigation into the micropore range (pore diameter of < 2 nm) is of interest.


For more detailed information about Mesopore analysis click here.



Mercury porosimetry is widely used in the catalyst and petrochemical industries for determining the pore size and pore volume of catalyst substrates such as silica and alumina zeolites. In the biomedical field mercury porosimetry has been used to characterize tricalcium phosphate granules or strips used in bone grafts. The pharmaceutical industry has found porosimetry useful in evaluating tablets formed using varied compression forces, for example.


The Washburn Equation relates the applied pressure to pore diameter using physical properties of the non wetting liquid (mercury in this case). The physical properties include the contact angle between the mercury and the material, as well as surface tension. Instruments utilized at PTL allow for pressures ranging from approximately 1 psi up to 60,000 psi which correlates to measurement of pores from about 250 µm to 0.003 µm (3 nm). The contact angle of the mercury on the material under test is an important consideration for optimal results. The contact angle can either be provided or measured; otherwise default values can be entered during the analysis. The volume of mercury intruded into the sample is monitored by a capacitance change in a metal clad capillary analytical cell called a penetrometer. The sample is held in a section of the penetrometer cell, which is available in a variety of volumes to accommodate powder or intact solid pieces. Sample size is limited to dimensions of approximately 2.5 cm long by 1.5 cm wide.


For more detailed information about Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry analysis click here.


This brief description covers only a small portion of the particle characterization services offered by Particle Technology Labs. For questions, or to discuss your specific testing needs, please contact us by clicking here.


PTL is a proven cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) compliant laboratory, in accordance with 21 CFR, Part 210 and 211. Our facility is FDA registered and inspected, and we host over 30 audits per year from the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. We are DEA licensed and approved to handle Schedule II through V Controlled Substances.

Particle Technology Labs – Particle Characterization Contract Analysis Services

The Trend in Outsourced Scientific Research and Development

Outsourcing or contracting is a common practice used by companies to reduce costs and raise profits by cutting down on staff and equipment needs. Due to economic factors over the last few years, including high labor and equipment costs of in-house laboratories, outsourcing is becoming increasingly prevalent in the scientific community.

As more companies and institutions turn to outsourced science for research and development, more options are becoming available for contracted laboratory analysis services. With a wider range of choices, comes a wider range of quality and service. When given a choice, be sure to start with the experts.

PTL is Proud to be a Pioneer in the Contract Analysis Industry.

When new drugs are developed, or new technologies invented, laboratory analysis is a vital step to test or prove the end product. Making sure the end product is safe, effective and successful in the long run depends on the quality of its materials and structure. Detecting any inconsistencies or problems early on is key. Product recall, liability and poor sales due to product inconsistency or poor performance are just some examples of issues that can lead to unrecoverable loss of revenue. Not using an experienced laboratory for analysis services may lead to unimaginable costs.

Choosing a Proven and Reputable Contract Laboratory with Experience and Expertise Should be the Single Most Important Deciding Factor.

PTL has always been a particle characterization research and advisory contract lab. We are a trusted advisor to the world’s leading pharmaceutical, industrial, public sector, and scientific organizations. We have been an important part of the research and development of countless products in many industries including pharmaceutical, environmental, petroleum-chemical, manufacturing, cosmetics, dietary supplements, as well as food and beverage. During this time, we have worked with individuals up to industry giants as they bring their ideas and products to life. Our scope and expansive knowledge of particle technology allow us to provide our clients with precise, comprehensive results. We address problems that no one else can and provide the insight necessary for our clients to make the right decisions.

As the scientific industry changes and outsourced laboratories become more prevalent, choosing the right laboratory is vital. At PTL, this has been our only business for over 25 years. Our expertise, commitment to quality and the outstanding customer service we offer is why the world’s leading public and private organizations continue to choose Particle Technology Labs for their contract laboratory analysis needs.

PTL is a proven cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) compliant laboratory, in accordance with 21 CFR, Parts 11, 210 and 211. Our facility is FDA registered and inspected, hosting over 30 audits per year from the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. We are DEA licensed and approved to handle schedule II through V controlled substances. We also hold an ATF permit for analyzing pyrotechnic materials.

Start with the Experts

PTL Celebrates Earth Day 2018

Safe disposal practices, recycling, and green lighting are just a few of the ways PTL works to responsibly protect our environment.

Our newest initiative began at the beginning of this month when PTL made the switch to paperless reporting. PTL completes thousands of analyses each year, and for every analysis, a report is produced. Historically, these reports were printed on paper, put into folders and envelopes and made their way to clients via trucks and planes. To cut down on paper waste and the environmental cost of transporation, PTL final reports are now digitally delivered via a secure online portal. This environmentally friendly delivery system places final reports in our clients' hands much sooner, with less waste and negative impact on our planet.

On earth day and every day, PTL is striving to help protect our environment while delivering outstanding service and particle characterization results to our clients.
This means when you do business with PTL, you're greener too.

Learn More

To learn more about Earth Day, visit the links below.

PTLs’ Michael Vinakos to Give Presentation at AFS Filtcon 2018

Michael Vinakos, Particle Characterization Chemist IV and Team Leader at Particle Technology Labs, will be presenting a technical session titled Understanding Particle Size Distributions. Mr. Vinakos’ lecture is one of several offered under the Indoor Air Quality session of the Air/Gas Track.
The session will be offered at the American Filtration & Separations Society’s (AFS) FiltCon 2018 which takes place April 23rd through the 25th, 2018 at the Mystic Lake Conference Center in Prior Lake, Minnesota. The society is a technical, educational, nonprofit organization dedicated to the exchange of information among engineers, scientists, and technologists in all areas of the fluid/separation field.

Mr. Vinakos’ presentation will focus on the interpretation of particle size distribution data and how particle size analysis is performed on captured air emissions samples.

The AFS Filtcon conference will feature 6 plenary sessions, 24 technical sessions, an expo featuring exhibitors, a student poster session and networking opportunities. Filtcon will also feature a selection of short courses. 

Mr. Vinakos joined PTL as a Particle Characterization Chemist I before advancing to his current position as Particle Characterization Chemist IV and Team Leader. In his present supervisory role, Mr. Vinakos directs particle sizing & counting techniques as well as the microscopy & image analysis activities within PTL. His role involves leading complex projects and providing detailed technical review of analytical data. Mr. Vinakos received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from DePaul University and a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology and Chemical Science from Roosevelt University.

More information on AFS FiltCon 2018 can be found at: