Applications for the nCS1 Nanoparticle Analyzer

  The Spectradyne advantage

The Spectradyne nCS1 is the only benchtop technology that provides high-resolution size distributions and accurate concentration measurements for particles in the 50 - 2000 nm diameter size range. The instrument, using only electronic sensing with no optical elements, rapidly counts and sizes individual nanoparticles in a sample, achieving few-percent precision in both size and concentration. The nCS1 delivers unprecedented capabilities for analyzing nanoparticles of any type, yielding more accurate and representative results than any other method. It thus provides an orthogonal technique to optically-based microparticle analysis instruments.

Read our overview of the technology, check out our specifications, as well as our comparative head-to-head comparison with other technologies.

Watch a video presentation that gives an overview of Spectradyne's technology.

  How do DLS and NTA compare?

Dynamic light scattering (DLS) and nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) both use light scattering to monitor particle Brownian motion, which combined with estimates of solution viscosity can be used to provide an estimate of the hydrodynamic radius of particles. These indirect methods are appealing because they only require probing a sample with light, requiring very little sample preparation. However, these methods are in fact prone to large systematic errors and both DLS and NTA can generate particle size distributions that are quite misleading and incorrect. Resistive pulse sensing as used by Spectradyne's nCS1 instead measures the individual diameters of each particle, so the particle size histograms provide quantitative, high resolution measurements of both particle diameter and absolute concentration.

There are in fact direct comparisons of DLS and NTA to the gold standard measurement of individual particles by electron microscopy (EM), with comparisons in the published literature showing that both DLS and NTA present "false peaks" in their reported distributions that do not match the EM results.

Read about our head-to-head comparison with other technologies, our overview of the technology, and read our specifications.

  Protein Aggregation

Particulates in parenteral drug development and production have always been a serious issue. In biologics, the issue is compounded by reported impacts of aggregates and particles on the product's efficacy, safety and immunogenicity. FDA regulations strongly recommend in-depth characterization of the identity and quantity of particles in protein therapeutics. While regulations require measurement of larger particles (>1 μm), it is desirable to detect and characterize protein aggregates long before they are that large. Crucial decisions about formulation, processing, and storage conditions must be made with an eye towards minimizing protein aggregation throughout the drug life-cycle. Spectradyne's nCS1TM can easily detect protein aggregates of exactly this type, in a simple straightforward measurement.

Read about applications to protein aggregation.

  Extracellular Vesicle Analysis

Extracellular vesicles can be especially difficult to measure, in particular when attempting to use optical techniques, due to the poor index contrast these provide with water or other suspending fluids. The nCS1 provides clear and strong signals even for vesicles down to 50 nm in diameter.

Read about our extracellular vesicle capabilities.


Nanomedicine is a rapidly growing area in both the pharma industry and in academic research. Using synthetic engineered nanoparticles including micelles, vesicles, virus and other nanoparticles, as well as a range of materials from metals to lipids, researchers are rapidly advancing the capabilities of disease therapeutics as well as detection. However, only Spectradyne's nCS1TM is able to detect, count and size nanoparticles of any material in the appropriate size range, yielding consistent and accurate size distributions with quantitative concentration information.

Read about applications to nanomedicine.


Viruses are biological nanoparticles that are used in a variety of applications. In addition to their well-known use in vaccines, viruses are being developed as therapeutics for disease, and serve as a convenient means to transfer genetic information. In many applications, an accurate measure of the concentration (titer) of the virus is required. This is difficult or impossible to do using conventional methods such as dynamic light scattering (DLS) and optical tracking, where the small size and low optical index contrast make detecting virus quite challenging. Furthermore, DLS does not give concentration information. Spectradyne's nCS1TM can easily detect virus down to 50 nm in diameter, without using any optics, while yielding accurate concentration data.

Read about measurements of virus.


Nanoparticles are used in a broad range of applications. Metal-oxide nanoparticles such as TiO2 are used as additives in cosmetic materials (UV absorbers in sunscreen) and in food (whiteners in frosting). Semiconductor nanoparticles are used for their optical properties (as light-emitting quantum dots or in digital displays). Gold nanoparticles are used for drug delivery. Spectradyne's nCS1TM can detect, count and size nanoparticles of any material, with consistent results including accurate concentration information.

Read about our technology's diverse materials capabilities.


A polydisperse particle mixture is one in which the constituent particles vary in size, shape, or molecular weight. The size distribution in such mixtures can be difficult to ascertain; bulk optical properties of the mixture, such as opacity, do not give detailed information about the population distribution. This is especially true as particle sizes decrease into the deep sub-micron range. Typical characterization instrumentation, such as dynamic light scattering (DLS) and optical particle tracking cannot resolve highly polydisperse mixtures of particles. Spectradyne's nCS1TM can.

Read about our polydispersity capabilities.

  Cleanliness of Fluids

How clean is your IV saline? How well does your sub-micron filter work? These are questions we asked and answered using the nCS1. We looked at nanoparticles in an IV saline bag, and compared the results to those found in an IV flushing syringe. We also looked at how effective a sub-micron filter is in removing a range of particles from a sample containing a broad distribution of ferromagnetic nanoparticles. Interested in finding out what we found? Read about our fluid cleanliness study here.

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