Everything about Microspheres
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  • Particle Image Velocimetry – Intro to Tracer Particle Parameters

    PIV is a vast field with varying techniques and differing areas of research. Techniques vary from 2D PIV, only viewing velocity in a plane of the fluid system, to high speed TOMO PIV which views a 3D area of fluid and can be time resolved allowing for acceleration data to also be obtained. Another difference is that the size of liquid PIV set-ups can range from micron sized micro channels to multi thousand-gallon tanks. While the area being imaged may not vary as much as the

    Barium Sulfate Tracer for X-ray imaging

    systems themselves, it can still differ from units of micro meters to potentially meters. With viewing windows growing as new advancements in science and technology progress, the need for seed particles to match them will grow. One example of this is the rise of helium filled soap bubble seeders that provide an easily visualized 300um bubble for air systems allowing for large areas to be seeded and visualized. Or barium sulfate polyethylene microspheres which are useful due to being a radio contrast agent allowing for visualization via x-ray imaging.

    Therefore, a one solution fits all approach is not feasible when it comes to seed particle selection. As each experiment will have differing size, density, light intensity/visibility, particle material, and seeding concentration needs based on desired results.

  • Janus (Micro) Particles – From 45um to 1mm+

    Black and White Jansum particles (1mm diameter)Cospheric offers unique capability to manufacture Janus microspheres and micro-particles with partial coatings and dual functionality. Currently half-shell or hemispherical coatings can be applied to any sphere (glass, polymer, ceramic) in sizes 45micron in diameter on up to 1mm and higher. Hemispherical coatings of less than 1 micron with tolerances as low as 0.25 micron have been routinely demonstrated. Color combinations are truly unlimited. White, black, silver, blue, green, red, yellow, brown, purple in both fluorescent and non-fluorescent have been made. Sphericity of greater than 90% and custom particle size ranges are offered.

    Fluorescent Red on Silver Coated Glass 50um

    Fluorescent Red on Silver Coated Glass 50um

    The custom coating capability offers customers the ability to create fluorescent glass micro-spheres of the specific size and emission/excitation needed. As the micro spheres and coating are solvent resistant

    they work ideally as fluorescent tracers or highly visible targets. We can overcoat clear glass or silver coated glass for the effect needed.

    For those needing very large Spheres Cospheric can coat spheres of 1mm and larger.

    Janus microparticles are now available as either dry powder or in a diellectric oil.

  • Glass Microspheres Used in Studying Self-Cleaning Gecko-Inspired Adhesives

    Image of Self-cleaning Adhesive of Gecko's Toes

    Image of Self-cleaning Adhesive of Gecko's Toes Source: wikipedia.com

    Researchers from Carnegie Melon University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have recently published an article in Journal of the Royal Society titled Staying Sticky: Contact Self-Cleaning of Gecko-Inspired Adhesives that presents the first gecko-inspired adhesive that matches both the attachment and self-cleaning properties of gecko’s foot on a smooth surface.

    Using glass microspheres to simulate contamination the scientists created a synthetic gecko adhesive that could self-clean and recover lost adhesion. Real world applications of self-cleaning adhesives are reusable adhesive tapes, clothing, medical adhesives (bandages) and pick-and-place robots, among others.

    Everyday challenge with traditional adhesives is that they loose their stickiness once contaminated. Geckos have been intriguing researchers for decades because of their unique and striking capability to maintain the stickiness of their toes through contact self-cleaning. They can travel up the walls and ceilings in a wide variety of “dirty” settings retaining adhesion.

    Upon experimentation, scientists discovered that the critical variable is the relative size of microfibers that make up the adhesive compared to the diameter of contaminant particles. Glass microspheres were used in diameters from 3 to 215microns. Glass microspheres were packed in air and used as supplied. Contamination of the samples was achieved by brining each sample in contact with a monolayer of glass microspheres with specific speeds under predetermined compressive loads. The cleaning process involved a load-drag-unload procedure.

    Best self-cleaning results were obtained with the largest contaminants (glass microspheres), with the size of the adhesive fiber much smaller than the contaminating particle. This information is important to know when designing self-cleaning adhesives—make the adhesive fibers much smaller for improved adhesion recovery. This cleaning mechanism requires unloading particles by dragging. The other extreme of contaminating microspheres being much smaller than the adhesive fibers has advantages in some situations, even though it works by a different mechanism. Smaller microspheres tended to become embedded into the adhesive material. Particle embedding is a temporary cleaning process but might be sufficient in some applications.

  • Black Paramagnetic Spheres and Micropsheres 10micron to 1.4mm

    Black polyethylene paramagnetic microspheres are now available in wide selection of particle sizes ranging from 10 micron to 1.4 millimeters. The particles are supplied in dry powder form. No solvents are used in the manufacturing process. Black paramagnetic polymer microspheres have a strong response to magnetic fields and can be manipulated with a magnet. Highly opaque particles with maximum hiding power.

    Paramagnetic microspheres have the ability to increase in magnetization with an applied magnetic field and loose their magnetism when the field is removed. Neither hysteresis nor residual magnetization is observed and that provides the end use two very practical advantages:

    • When the filed is removed, the microspheres demagnetize and re-disperse easily. This property allows efficient washing steps, low background and good reproducibility.
    • The behavior of the microspheres is always the same whatever the magnetization cycles may be. Such behavior is a key point for automated instrument.

    According to Wikipedia, paramagnetic materials have a small, positive susceptibility to magnetic fields. These materials are slightly attracted by a magnetic field and the material does not retain the magnetic properties when the external field is removed. Paramagnetic properties are due to the presence of some unpaired electrons, and from the realignment of the electron paths caused by the external magnetic field.

    Encyclopedia Britanica defines paramagnetism as a kind of magnetism characteristic of materials weakly attracted by a strong magnet, named and extensively investigated by the British scientist Michael Faraday beginning in 1845. Most elements and some compounds are paramagnetic. Strong paramagnetism (not to be confused with the ferromagnetism of the elements iron, cobalt, nickel, and other alloys) is exhibited by compounds containing iron, palladium, platinum, and the rare-earth elements.

    Paramagnetic microparticles are used in numerous applications where they can be manipulated with a magnet, observed and cleaned-up for reuse.

    • Solid Phase Immunoassays
    • Bacteria Detection
    • High Throughput screening
    • Rapid Tests
    • Cell Sorting
    • Biosensors
    • Nucleic Acids Technology
    • Microfluidics
  • Density Marker Beads Kit Now Available from Cospheric LLC

    Santa Barbara, CA, December 6, 2013 – Cospheric LLC, a microsphere manufacturing and distributing company, expanded their line of density marker beads which now offers six different densities including 1.02 g/cc (fluorescent green), 1.04g/cc (fluorescent orange), 1.06g/cc (fluorescent violet), 1.08 g/cc (dark blue), 1.09 g/cc (fluorescent red), and 1.13g/cc (fluorescent blue). Cospheric Density Marker Beads are now provided at a 20% concentration in an aqueous solution in 2.5ml vials, which makes the spheres easier to work with for the customers. Microspheres of different densities can be purchased individually or as a density marker beads kit.

    Microspheres of accurately known mass density are generally used as an external marker to facilitate the monitoring of the density gradient shape and range. Density marker beads enable excellent stratification and bright coloration for high visibility with the unaided eye. Historically density calibration beads in the size ranges of 212-250um or 250-300um are used. Unlike the discontinued density marker kits which used to be manufactured by GE Healthcare and sold by Sigma-Aldrich, Cospheric’s DMB density marker beads are ready for use right out of the vial, don’t need to be swollen, do not expire, and do not change density over time. Cospheric’s DMB microspheres will create Percoll gradients but will also work with any other centrifugation media. The colored microbeads may be recovered and stored for future use.

    The density marker beads provide a rapid, simple, and accurate method for measuring the density. Generally a set of several such beads, covering a range of densities, is used. In the biomedical industry researchers are sometimes looking for cells having targeted specific gravities. In order to locate these cells in test tubes it is useful to have colored marker beads which will show where the delineation between specific densities occurs. Density marker beads are also used for calibrating particles in other industries, such as agriculture, microbiology and others.

    About Cospheric LLC:
    Cospheric LLC develops, manufactures, and distributes high-quality microspheres in sizes from 10 micron to 1000 micron (1mm). Cospheric specializes in polyethylene microspheres and carries a large stock of polyethylene microspheres in many colors, fluorescent, phosphorescent, neutrally-buoyant, and paramagnetic properties. Cospheric also offers a selection of soda-lime and borosilicate glass, silica, metal-coated, and titanium dioxide-coated spheres, some available in spacer grades with very tight particle size distributions. Cospheric LLC welcomes inquiries for custom manufacturing of microspheres tuned to each customer’s unique specifications. Cospheric is an eco-friendly company that uses only recyclable materials and no solvents in the manufacturing process. For more information, pricing and sample requests visit www.cospheric.com.

    About Microspheres:
    Microspheres or beads are spherical particles usually between 1 to 1000 microns in diameter and are manufactured for wide variety of uses in research, medicine, consumer goods, paints and coatings, adhesives, personal care, household products, cosmetics, skin care, and other industries.