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Inside Instrumentation

Technology and Business News for the Laboratory World

October 9, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 41

Firms offer nanotech characterization tools

FEI and Malvern Instruments will develop nanoparticle analysis systems that combine Malvern's particle image analysis software and FEI's Quanta scanning electron microscopes (SEMs). The software, already used on optical microscopes, will be optimized for SEMs to measure particle size, morphology, and distribution profiles. Separately, NanoSight has launched its LM10 nanoparticle characterization system for visualizing individual particles in suspension. It includes a conventional optical microscope fitted with a specialized camera and dedicated analytical software for direct qualitative sample analysis along with quantitative real-time size information, down to 10 nm.

Xceleron expands its U.S. facility

Xceleron, a U.K.-based provider of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) analysis services, will invest up to $7.5 million to acquire another AMS instrument and expand its Gaithersburg, Md., site by late 2007. According to the company, its York, England, site is the only Good Laboratory Practices accredited biomedical facility specializing in ultrasensitive drug and metabolite analysis using AMS. Using this method, researchers can measure the pharmacokinetics of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion in microdose quantities-defined as 1% of the predicted pharmacological dose but never more than 100 ??g-in humans for clinical development.

Bruker updates mass specs

Bruker Daltonics has unveiled new generations of two MALDI time-of-flight mass spectrometers: the compact, vertical Autoflex III and the top-of-the-line Ultraflex III. Many of the technologies from the Ultraflex III have been incorporated into the more compact Autoflex III. Both instruments include Bruker's Smartbeam laser technology and are suitable for proteomics and imaging applications. Both systems are more sensitive than their predecessors and are fully integrated with Bruker's software applications.

Corning launches screening system

Corning has launched a high-throughput, label-free screening system for drug discovery that eliminates the need for fluorescent or radioactive labels. Its Epic system uses optical biosensor technology in a disposable 384-well microplate format. A microplate reader measures changes in light-wave reflections to detect interactions in biochemical or cell-based assays. It can scan 40,000 wells in eight hours and, due to its high sensitivity, screen previously undetectable biological targets.

Portable spectrometers unveiled

Analytical Spectral Devices has introduced its LabSpec 5000/5100 series of portable visible/near-infrared spectrometers. The rugged instruments have a spectral range of 350-2,500 nm and are designed to stand up to extreme environments. They include remote diagnostics, a remote trigger port, and the company's cooled NIR InGaAs TurboScanner detector technology. The LabSpec 5000 has spectral resolution of 10 nm in the near IR, compared with 6 nm for the LabSpec 5100.

CEM and EPA ink deal

CEM Corp. and the Environmental Protection Agency have signed an agreement to develop microwave chemistry methods that use environmentally friendly solvents. CEM will use its technology to scale up chemical processes developed by scientists at EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory in Cincinnati. "We are looking forward to working with EPA to expand the present scale range of microwave-assisted reactions and developing greener, or more environmentally friendly, methods for those reactions," says Michael J. Collins, president and chief executive officer of CEM.

Inside Instrumentation is written by Celia H. Arnaud and Ann M. Thayer. Contact them via e-mail to

Instrumentation companies expand via acquisitions

Three companies have recently added to their operations by purchasing other smaller suppliers. Bruker AXS has acquired Quantron GmbH in Kleve, Germany, from Quantron's founders. The acquired company develops and sells arc/spark optical emission spectroscopy systems (shown) for metals analysis in industrial applications. In another deal, PerkinElmer has added Raman spectroscopy products with its purchase of Avalon Instruments in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Avalon makes benchtop dispersive Raman spectrometers, and its products complement PerkinElmer's near infrared and IR spectroscopy offerings. Meanwhile, Waters Corp. has bought Thermometric AB, a private company in Jarfalla, Sweden. Waters will merge the microcalorimetry business into its Delaware-based TA Instruments operations, which supplies thermal analysis instrumentation. The added business will allow Waters to expand into new applications, particularly in the life sciences research area.


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