Nu for 2016: State of the art Nanoparticle analysis using Nu AttoM ES

Updates to the AttoLab data acquisition and Nu Quant data processing software has given AttoM the significant new capability of nanoparticle analysis. Data can be acquired continuously with dwell times as low as 10µs. This offers state of the art analysis as the dwell times are significantly lower than the expected signal duration for a nanoparticle, 200-400µs.




The Nu Quant software uses a data smoothing and auto-search routine to locate and integrate all the particle peaks with correction for any ionic background found in the acquired data. The integration accommodates the variable peak widths found within a sample and even identifies and correctly integrates peaks from partially coincident particles meaning that nanoparticle concentrations far in excess of those previously measured are possible without sample dilution. Nu AttoM’s unique detector system also allows detection of ions from fast transient signals to over 1e7cps which extends the range of particle sizes that can be measured in a single acquisition. To extend the size measurement range further the signal can be attenuated using either the source slit or the detector attenuator. With methods using different signal attenuations able to be linked together for the same sample, this greatly simplifies method development and data acquisition for unknown samples.


The Nu Instruments Calculations Editor (NICE) gives the ultimate flexibility to calculate results using either internal calibrations with known nanoparticle standards or external calibration using a separate efficiency calibration with conventional data acquisition. Results can be reported for particle size, particle mass, particle concentration, ionic background and additional quality factors such as the percentage of partially or fully coincident peaks found in a sample. All calculated and raw data can be exported simply as CSV files for further use in 3rd party packages if desired.


Four new applications notes are available to describe the new capability:

AN53 – Nanoparticle analysis using Nu AttoM ES with 105Hz acquisition rates

AN54 – Extending the size range of nanoparticle analysis using Nu AttoM ES

AN55 – Extending the concentration range of nanoparticle analysis using Nu AttoM ES

AN56 – Nanoparticle analysis in the presence of an ionic background signal using Nu AttoM ES


There are also two posters available from the 2016 Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry, Tucson, Arizona:

TP13 Extending the Range of Single Particle Analysis Using High Resolution ICPMS,

Karla Newman, Trent University, Water Quality Centre, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8, Canada, Phil Shaw, Ariane Donard, Leon Eldridge, Andrew Stephens, Holger Hintelmann, Chris Metcalfe

TP14 Nano-Particle Analysis Using Data Acquisition Dwell Times Between 10 µs and 100 µs with a Dynamic Range Equivalent to More Than 109 CPS,

Phil Shaw, Nu Instruments, Unit 74 Clywedog Rd South, Wrexham Industrial Estate, Wrexham LL13 9XS, United Kingdom, Ariane Donard, Leon Eldridge, Andrew Stephens

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