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A virtual demonstration of our particle detection technology

Watch a demonstration of the nCS1TM

Learn more about the nCS1TM here

Here’s a transcript for your reading pleasure!

Good day, my name is Lew Brown. I’m with Spectradyne and today I would like to give you a brief demonstration on how our nCS1 nanoparticle analyzer works.

As you can see the nCS1 unit itself is very compact. It measures just 13 inches wide by 15 inches deep by 13 inches high.

The unit itself has three connections. At the back there is power USB out to the computer itself, and there’s an air input for the air input unit, which is merely bringing 15 PSI into the unit itself.

So let’s start by showing how to fill the cartridge.

Merely take three microliters of sample in a pipette. Place the pipette tip into the sample port as shown here. Pipette out the sample. And you’re ready to run the instrument.

We just take the cartridge we just loaded, put it into the front of the instrument, slide it in.

The blue light comes on to let me know I’ve inserted correctly, and we hit the button and up the motor brings the sample and we’re ready to go.

Once the cartridge has been put into the instrument, everything at this point on is under computer control. So here I am looking at the nCS1 software and the first thing I need to do is to type in a mold ID.

The mold ID field tells the system what type of cartridge it is and its mold ID. This looks up a factory default calibration value for both size and concentration. So this is one of the beauties of the nCS1 system. There is no calibration required.

So I simply type in the mold ID, in this case P12.4.4 and you’ll see the field turned green instantly because it recognizes it as a valid cartridge mold ID.

The next thing I do is I put in the cartridge box number, which is actually a date, in this case 200221, which means that this particular cartridge was cast on February 21st of 2020.

The reason for putting in the box number is to make sure you use the calibration for the date closest to when the cartridge was actually cast.

At this point I’m going to put in a data file prefix. We produce lots of data for every run. There are lots of different files, and the easiest way to be able to tell what they’re from is to give each data file a prefix.

So in this case I’m going to call it TS-400 bead mix and I’m going to give it an underscore 1 just to indicate this is the first run. And every file for this particular run will have that prefix in it.

In the sample description field I can put in any kind of metadata I want to that gets carried with all these files. In this case, what I’m going to do is I’m just going to indicate that this happens to be 94, 150 and 208 nm traceable beads. And another thing I could do here is I could also put in any sort of dilution or any types of metadata here. Basically you can type in whatever you want.

Now that everything is all set to go, you can see the green lights are on here. I simply type hit go.

At this point, everything is taking over. It’s on a computer controlled and at this point the system will begin to prime the cartridge. The cartridge goes into the system, basically is dry, other than what’s in the sample port.

You can see here something called the fill monitors and what these fill monitors do is they check the conductivity in different parts of the cartridge.

So by watching these I can see which parts of the cartridge are getting filled and now have conductivity so you can see now that 1, 2, 3 and 4 all show conductivity. And 1 and 3 should be up on high like this, 2 and 4 should be in the middle like this. And as the system sees that they’re there and stable, it now turns green. So this is the state we want these monitors to be in.

At this point, the system runs through the pressures a few times in order to make sure that everything is stable inside of the cartridge.

The hissing sound you hear is the system lowering from the priming pressures which are higher to the actual measurement pressures which are lower.

And once it’s finished doing this, you’ll see all the monitors will drop down to zero and will begin the acquisition.

So now we’re beginning the acquisition. You can see the fill monitors have turned off. And we’re beginning a 10 second acquisition of Raw Data.

And here’s what that 10 seconds looks like. I can zoom in on that a little bit so you can see a little closer what’s going on here. Each downward spike represents a single particle transit.

So what we’re doing is we’re taking 10 seconds at a time. And when the data is good in that 10 seconds, it gets passed over here to what’s called the Auto Analysis Engine.

Where we turn these downward electrical spikes into an actual particle size distribution, and essentially what we’re doing is we’re converting the size of that spike through the calibration into a particle size, and then we’re also plotting it against concentration.

Now, as I said before, when I put this sample in this consists of 94,150 and 208 nm beads and you can see that we’re coming out just the way we would expect to, with a 94, 150 and 208 nm beads.

Along the bottom, here you can see that it’s reporting the overall concentration between 65 and 400 nm is 1.54 × 1010 particles/mL.

That there are 6750 particles that are included in this distribution right now, and this is our counting error which is based on 1/sqrt(N). At any point in time, I can look at any part of this this histogram and see for instance the exact concentration of the 94 nm beads merely by typing, say, 70 to 125. Setting that and now you can see that between 70 and 125 nm, we’ve got roughly 4 × 109 particles/mL, and that there are 2885 there.

Let’s look at the next peak, so we can simply go from 125 to 190. Set that and again, we see roughly 4 × 109 particles/mL, which is exactly how I mixed this. I mixed this to be roughly 4 × 109 particles/mL for each one of these.

So I’ve got plenty of data at this point, So what I can do is I can actually stop the acquisition.

And at this point it stopped. And then what I would also do is I’d hit End Run and what End Run is going to do is it’s going to zero the pressures in the lines so that the system is ready for the next cartridge. Which means I can lower the stage, put a new cartridge in and begin a new measurement mission.

So down here it says 0 to 12, 13 total so that this graph here represents thirteen 10s acquisitions.

So in other words, during that 130 seconds of data of acquisition, we acquired 14,136 points. And the overall concentration was 1.5 × 1010 particles/mL.

When I’m done with the run like this, you can see that it says I’m ready for the new sample up here. And the other thing I’m going to do is I’m going to combine this data and create a run report and so that takes these 13 files and combines them into a single one.

I’ve also created a report file which I can go look at by going into my Data file. And if I scroll down, I should see this bead mix right here.

And here’s the report created, ignore that. And so you can see that this is the run report date, created unique time and unique name for it. The CC indicates this is a combined file.

And it shows my cartridge mold ID, box date, sample description, which is the metadata I put in. It tells me if there are any filters applied, which there were to remove noise and then it shows me my distribution in a linear fashion, in a log rhythmic fashion. So this is a default report.

I can also use the Viewer software to create much more detailed reports if I need to. So let’s open up the Viewer real quick.

And here I can see all of my files, so I’ve got everything that I gathered. So here’s the raw file. I’ve got these statistics files and the combined files as well. So there’s my combined file and I can now open that up and look at it very closely. And I can do annotations and other things of that nature to the file.

For instance, let’s find out how close my 150 nm beads are. So I’m going to go in here and say, let’s go select and I’ll close select manually, interactively like this, and I’ll just say Gaussian fit. And what that does is it fits a Gaussian to that curve and you can see that these were 150 nm beads. They came out with a mean of 152.1 nm and a concentration of 3.77 × 109 particles/mL, so dead on basically.

I can do the same thing with the 94 nm beads. I’m going to zoom in on them a little closer, and again, I’ll just do a select and I can do this interactively or by typing in numbers. I’m going to do it interactively and again I give it a Gaussian fit, and the mean came out at 92.9 nm. And these were 94 nm beads so you can see that I got exactly what I expected.

I can also generate a size distribution data report. Which I’ll just call in this case, I’ll just call it test 1, say save and I’ll quickly show you what exactly that’s done. By again navigating to my data folder and finding that test file.

And you can see here the first tab is all my metadata and the second tab is the actual concentration data bin by however I’ve asked it to be binned, and the actual plot itself. This is now output is an Excel file which I can do whatever I want with.

The Viewer software is very extensive and allows you to do all sorts of data manipulation and data output for presentation etc. But it is beyond the scope of this particular video.

So there you have it. You’ve seen the nCS1 in action. It’s very easy to use and we invite you to contact us and we’d be happy to run some samples of your own for you so you can see what kind of data to expect. Thanks again!