Making the Invisible Visible: Tracking Nanoparticles is now Faster, Easier and more Accurate

ATA Scientific Pty Ltd
Tuesday, 15 August, 2023

Making the Invisible Visible: Tracking Nanoparticles is now Faster, Easier and more Accurate

It’s a well-known fact that size matters when a nanoparticle (NP) based drug is considered. Size will have a significant effect on pharmacokinetics or the drug’s ability and efficiency to reach its target in the body. It is also equally important to understand the concentration and the dosage of NPs loaded with the desired drug.

Synergy of Complementary Characterisation Techniques: NTA & DLS

Those familiar with the Malvern Zetasizer Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) systems will appreciate it as an indispensable characterisation tool, which has continuously advanced for more than 40 years. Non-invasive back scattering technology grants excellent population statistics for an average size (by intensity) and average size distribution or polydispersity index. The addition of Multi-Angle Dynamic Light Scattering (MADLS) in the Zetasizer Ultra, achieves a clearer, more complete data picture in as little as three minutes and builds on the established benefits of DLS like speed of measurement, ease of use and low cost of ownership.

Similarly, the Malvern NanoSight with Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) is trusted by scientists around the world with thousands of publications referring to NanoSight NTA data. First introduced in 2002 (described by the ISO 19430 standard), NTA provides real-time, high-resolution NP size and concentration measurements. NTA delivers single particle resolution and is an appealing alternative to more complex, destructive methods such as electron microscopy (SEM/TEM) and ICP-MS.

Both DLS and NTA are helpful, yet when used in conjunction can provide a more comprehensive understanding than either technique alone. DLS accumulates the scattering signal from vastly more particles than NTA and therefore lends itself to statistically reliable outcomes in a much shorter time to elucidate total sample composition or the presence of any aggregates. Meanwhile, the higher resolution of NTA allows us to understand if there are several close populations and how much of the sample is present in each. Furthermore, on loading with fluorescently labelled particles, the subpopulation which has a fluorophore can be distinguished from the total population offering important information such as encapsulation efficiency.

Increased measurement repeatability and reproducibility with Machine Learning

Characterising NPs has never been so quick, easy and accurate. Powered by machine learning, the NanoSight Pro automates your workflow so removes subjectivity and human error. Any level of user can generate extremely accurate and reproducible size and concentration data with very little effort and time needed. Its unique optical heart brings new dimensions to repeatable detection, delivering superior data quality. An upgraded temperature controller allows stress and aggregation studies to be performed at up to 70°C. Advances in fluorescence measurement provide powerful insights into sample specificity while opening new possibilities in diagnostic, biomarker analysis and therapy applications.

The NanoSight Pro, with upgraded NS Xplorer software, delivers advanced capabilities with best-in-class, ultra high-resolution size, and concentration measurements for nanomaterials, up to three times faster than ever before. Previous limitations linked to small biological particles and other low scatterers are overcome by NanoSight Pro, which is optimised for use with samples including exosomes, viruses, vaccines, and drug delivery systems.

As research groups focused on drug delivery continue on their journey into developing more targeted therapeutics and vaccines with fewer side effects, high-quality analytical characterisation is critical to their success. Take a look at the recent video where the NanoSight Pro is used to develop and QC assure molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) for usage in sensors and COVID-19 lateral flow tests (

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Direct visualization, sizing and concentration measurements of drug delivery nanoparticles using Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) (2014) Malvern Panalytical. Available at: (Accessed: 13 July 2023).

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