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Microscopy still remains the most absolute and preferential method for the analysis of particle size and shape distribution. With the use of SEM, this technique can now be used in the micron and submicron range, which is not possible with optical microscopy due to limited resolution.
Whereas in the past there was a limitation in terms of the number of particles and parameters that could be analyzed within an acceptable time, today the possibilities in this area are almost unlimited due to the exponentially increased calculating power of computers. As a result, an almost unlimited number of particles or images containing particles can be analyzed in the shortest possible time. The software then determines for itself when the variation in parameters is within acceptable tolerances and the measurement can be stopped.
The Thermo Phenom microscopes can be equipped with different software modules for the determination of particle size, shape and composition.
For example, the ParticleMetric software is used to determine particle size and shape on one or more pre-recorded images. Further automation or personalization of test methods is possible with the Phenom PPI programming interface, while fully automated desktop SEM systems such as the ParticleX TC additionally involve the use of EDX element analysis for further identification, whether or not according to certain industry standards such as the VDA 19 / ISO16232.
Other automated SEM systems such as the ParticleX AM, Phenom GSR and Phenom Asbestometric are specifically used for additive manufacturing, gun shot residue and asbestos fiber determination, respectively.
For perfect dispersion of particles on a stub or filter, the Thermo Nebula particle dispenser can be used.