UK-based Iota NanoSolutions Limited (Liverpool, UK) specialises in the formation of nanodispersions of poorly soluble organic materials. For the past 18 months the company has been using the Malvern Instruments Zetasizer Nano particle characterisation system as part of its sample optimisation and quality control processes.
Iota’s patented technology enables the conversion of hydrophobic organic materials into a dry solid format, which when added to water rapidly forms colloidally stable nanodispersions of the actives. The innovative technology can also be used to form nanoparticles of organic or hydrophilic materials that are readily dispersible in non-aqueous liquids. The nanodispersions are often transparent with nanoparticles of the active present at high concentration. Iota uses the Zetasizer Nano on a daily basis to measure the particle size and stability of the dispersions. In addition to aqueous systems, the company has also performed measurements on organic solvent based systems.
Iota has applied its novel technology to more than 150 organic compounds, and has conducted over 20,000 measurements using the Zetasizer Nano, These materials are typically used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, consumer/household products, agrochemicals, inks and coatings.
The company has used AFM and TEM characterisation techniques in the past; however, these techniques only measure the nanoparticles after preparation onto a surface. Installing the Zetasizer Nano has enabled Iota to conduct characterisation studies directly on the solutions required as part of customer specifications.
In selecting the Zetasizer Nano, Dr James Long, a research scientist at Iota who routinely uses the system explained:
“Iota considered a range of 12 twelve dynamic light scattering systems available on the market at the time. In each case the same Iota formulation was examined. Malvern’s was the only DLS system that gave accurate and reproducible results, confirmed by FFF analysis, and provided the greatest resolution for multimodal systems. Additionally, it has a fast speed of measurement, can output data in a number of ways and is applicable to a wide range of sample concentrations. The instrument benefits from excellent software, with free upgrades provided regularly and on an indefinite basis. Malvern provide an outstanding after sales and technical service, including online seminars which are very useful. The Zetasizer Nano is an essential piece of equipment which enables Iota to rapidly optimise its formulations to meet customer requirements.”
Iota is currently considering upgrading the system to include the Zeta potential package and a titrator, which will enable completely new measurement techniques to be applied to the nanoparticle dispersions, including monitoring of the effect of pH.