RSSL Improves its Imaging

Reading Scientific Services Ltd is the first laboratory in the UK to offer a commercial service in elemental analysis, combining two of the most recent developments in microanalysis and FT-IR imaging.

The Reading laboratory has recently installed the new Apollo XL EDX analysis detector and TEAM software from EDAX. This revolutionary new equipment will permit RSSL's microscopists to provide a greater range of services including high resolution elemental and phase mapping, particle characterisation and statistics for filtered material; all with greater efficiency than ever before due to an advance in X–ray detector technology. RSSL's clients in the food and pharmaceutical sectors use the results of elemental analysis to better understand the distribution of key elements within their product and ingredient mixes.

Elemental analysis can often explain why certain products or ingredients are not performing as expected, or indeed, why a particular formulation or process produces a better outcome than another.  The technique is also used by RSSL in foreign body analysis, helping to match the composition of foreign bodies against potential source materials. There are surface coating and forensic applications too.

Alongside the new EDAX equipment, RSSL's microscopy laboratory has also installed the Nicolet iN10 MX which is an integrated infrared imaging microspectrometer. 

This state-of-the-art instrument is fully validated, and comes with an automated stage for FT-IR imaging of samples and three detectors, including an imaging detector, with fast imaging optics and electronics designed for ultra-fast data acquisition on a range of sample types. The microscope combines the optical imaging of a light microscope with high sensitivity FT-IR imaging, allowing the chemical identity of individual components to be attributed to different features within the optical image of the sample. This capability will be useful in particle analysis applications, where it will allow RSSL to chemically identify different particle types and shapes, such as those observed in pharmaceutical formulations of different excipients and APIs. It will also assist in identifying foreign material contamination in drug products.

This combination of state of the art microanalysis and FT-IR imaging gives greater analytical flexibility to RSSL's microscopists. RSSL can now combine optical and electronic imaging microscopy with the complementary determination of elemental and chemical identity, and distribution of chemical species in complex structures and random mixtures. This powerfully combines the capability to determine size, shape, morphology and colouration of particles and attribute both chemical and elemental identities to the different particles types in the mixture. This improved capability is ideal for applications including particle analysis, identification of unknown foreign materials from chemical build-ups and mixtures with products.

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