Particle Characterization: The Ultimate Goal

While simple particle size distributions represent a rudimentary type of "particle characterization", they only allow characterizing each particle by a single number, with an assumption that all of the particles are spherical in shape. This means that every sample analyzed is treated as a homogenous collection of spherical particles, and that all particles are of the same material.

 Particle characterization diagram

 Particle Characterization Using Imaging
(click to enlarge)

In the real world, most materials that people want to characterize consist of several ingredients, and the ultimate goal is to quantify the amounts present of each ingredient. Imaging particle analysis done by FlowCAM® collects over 30 different measurements for each particle, enabling different components of a mixture to be "digitally separated" and quantified based on particle size, shape, gray-scale (or color) attributes and (optionally) fluorescence data. The example shown at right shows a typical application which is easily accomplished using FlowCAM and VisualSpreadsheet® software to classify all particles into the three desired categories required.