IP Profile: Ultrasonic Pulsed Doppler (USPD) Characterization of Nanoparticles

USPD measures particle properties with a single transducer that, according to its inventor, can be readily incorporated into process equipment or into existing instrumentation, as there are no strict requirements on test vessel dimensions.

Markets: Instrumentation companies, particle manufacturers, pharmaceuticals
Technology Contact: Steven Africk, Prodyne Corporation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA

prototype

The Ultrasonic Pulsed Doppler (USPD) system employs ultrasonic backscatter for characterization of suspensions of particles as small as sub-10 nm. Using a single transducer, it measures concentration, particle size and particle mechanical properties (e.g. compressibility). A prototype has been developed (see image).

USPD measures particle properties with a single transducer that, according to its inventor, can be readily incorporated into process equipment or into existing instrumentation as there are no strict requirements on test vessel dimensions. Particles are measured in motion so that the backscatter is at frequencies differing from that of the interrogating frequency. This provides very low noise measurements and large dynamic range. Sources of velocity can be stirring in a test cell, motion of particle streams, or the interrogating ultrasound itself by acoustic streaming.

USPD can be applied in a batch or process mode (i.e. to continuously monitor particles during their fabrication and/or functionalization). High-concentration and/or opaque samples can be measured so that dilution is not normally necessary. Size of nanometer-sized particles can potentially be measured with greater precision than with DLS. Particle mechanical properties and their changes can be measured. The latter can allow monitoring of functionalization of nanoparticles (e.g. uptake of cargo as in nanoparticle drug delivery).

Estimates point to the domestic instrumentation market as a $30B+ per annum market, which includes major players Agilent and Thermo-Fisher.

Since presenting the technology at TechConnect 2008, Dr. Steven Africk, President of Prodyne, tells TechConnect, "Our company is in early stage discussions with Medtronic Surgical Technologies in Jacksonville FL to explore applications of USPD in Ear Nose & Throat and neurosurgical medical device applications, and with other companies in the instrumentation industry." He also noted that there are two patents pending.

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