The Centre for Nanoscale Science at the University of Liverpool has selected the DC24000 from CPS Instruments Europe to support its work in nanoparticle characterisation in biomedical applications.
Multidisciplinary research projects led by Prof Mathias Brust of the Department of Chemistry involve the chemical modification of (6-80nm) metal nanoparticles with biologically active molecules such as anti-cancer drugs, enzymes or signal peptides.
The technology behind the DC24000 - differential centrifugal sedimentation - allows the group to investigate particle size distributions and monitor the modification step, which requires precise control over the type and number of ligands attached to the particles.
A range of particle-sizing, spectroscopic and electrochemical techniques are available at the centre, including DLS, TEM, SEM, FTIR, NMR and SERS; the DC24000 was purchased as it deals particularly well with multi-modal size distributions.
Brust said: 'It is fantastic for monitoring minute thickness changes, for example, those caused by chemical reactions in the ligand shell of nanoparticles.
'Although at present it is still qualitative, it is nevertheless powerful and fast and easy to do with very small amounts of material.
'In our hands, it compares very favourably with most spectroscopic techniques,' he added.
The CPS DC24000 delivers routine ultra-high-resolution analysis of nanoparticle populations down to 2nm and differing in size by as little as two per cent.
Further work for the group involves the investigation of quantitative measurements of molecular ligand shell thickness in monolayer protected clusters with a thickness resolution of a single C-C bond.