Everything about Microspheres
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  • Reflective Billboard – Creative Outdoor Billboard for McDonald’s

    What a creative alternative to power-hungry digital displays. This large outdoor billboard is totally environmentally friendly because compared to LCD and LED displays that run on electricity, this display takes no energy to run. This creative outdoor billboard is made with reflective tape, visible only when illuminated by headlights in the darkness, created by ad agency Cossette.  To promote a local 24-hour McDonald’s in Canada, Cossette Vancouver designed this reflective billboard that’s only visible at night when cars pass by. By day, the billboard appears blank with no message, but at night, motorists driving along the highway reveal Mickey-D’s clever advertisement with their car headlights. Not only does this display save energy, it can be put anywhere, even in cities with strict requirements on flashing and lit displays.

    Even though this particular display was made using reflective tape, many types of retroreflective media can be made by incorporating retroreflective microspheres in a variety of substances. Retroreflective Microspheres are made by applying a half-shell aluminum coating on solid barium titanate glass microspheres. The spheres hemispherically coated with a thin aluminum shell produce a bright retroreflective response directed back to the light source.

  • 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.

  • Bichromal Janus Particles, Microspheres, Microbeads – Stock selection or Custom-made

    Bichromal (half-white half-black or any other color) Microspheres, Janus Particles

    Bichromal (half-white half-black or any other color) Microspheres, Janus Particles. In this picture - Paramagnetic black microspheres with partial white coating - Magnification 40x.

    Cospheric offers unique capability to manufacture Janus microspheres and microparticles 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 and higher. Coatings can be customized for any color and coverage of between 20% to 60% of the sphere. Each coating is custom formulated for color, charge, magnetic, electric, and surface properties, and solvent resistance per customers’ needs.

    Half-coated glass microspheres - Partial coating on glass particles

    Half-coated glass microspheres - Partial coating on glass particles. In this picture - Soda lime glass microspheres with partial red coating - Magnification 40x.

    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 as well as transparent microspheres have been made. Sphericity of greater than 90% and custom particle size ranges are offered.

    We have successfully coated solid and hollow glass microsphere, including soda-lime, borosilicate, and barium titanate glass microspheres. We have also coated on silver.

    Half-coated Microspheres

    Half-coated Microspheres

    Optically anisotropic spheres and janus particles with magnetic half-shells have been originally developed for applications in electronic displays, such as e-paper, but are now widely used in numerous applications in diagnostics, medical research, microscopy and biotechnology, as well as electronics, due to their ability to orient themselves in response to electromagnetic field and show a visual response. This is achieved by making spheres both bipolar and bichromal, with dipole precisely aligned with two differently colored hemispheres. As the spheres align themselves, the viewer will observe the color of one hemisphere, while the other hemisphere will be hidden from view, providing an obvious strong visible indication of the presence of the field or other stimuli.  In alternating electromagnetic field, these microspheres have been proven to spin at hundreds of times per second.

  • Negatively-charged Yellow Microparticles – Back in Stock

    Highly Negative Charged Microspheres - Polyethylene, Selection of Sizes 5 to 500um

    Highly Negative Charged Microspheres - Polyethylene, Selection of Sizes 5 to 500um, 1.0g/cc

    Cospheric’s neutrally-buoyant highly charged yellow microspheres have a strong negative charge and are used by scientists in medical technology, biotechnology, applied physics and research. Precise particles with known density of 1.0g/cc that behave in a known way are useful as a model particles in simulation experiments.  Particles in a range of diameters from 5micron to 500micron(0.5mm) are currently back in stock.

    Bright yellow polymer microparticles of high sphericity are spherical polyethylene beads that are specifically designed with density ~1.0g/cc for suspension in fresh water,  serving as seed or tracer particles and enabling flow visualization and Particle Image Velocimetry PIV analysis of fluid flow in a device. It is often advantageous to color code the particles by size to better understand which part of the process the spheres of the specific size were able to pass through, or where the contamination in the process is coming from. Microspheres are supplied in dry powder form and are color stable in solution. No solvents are used in the manufacturing process. Polyethylene is inert to most solvents.

    Cospheric also offers unique capability to manufacture Bichromal janus microspheres and microparticles with partial coatings and potentially dual functionality. Currently half-shell or hemispherical coatings can be applied to any sphere (glass, polymer, ceramic) in sizes 45micron in diameter and higher. Coatings can be customized for any color and coverage of between 20% to 60% of the sphere. Each coating is custom formulated for color, charge, magnetic, electric, and surface properties, and solvent resistance per customers’ needs. 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 as well as transparent microspheres have been made. Sphericity of greater than 90% and custom particle size ranges are offered.

    It would be interesting to combine these highly charged yellow microspheres with a partial paramagnetic black coating and investigate the behavior of these spheres in electromagnetic field.

  • PIV Seeding – Microparticle Recommendations

    Flow Visualization can best be accomplished with colored or fluorescent tracing particles of the same density as the fluid being studied.Particle image velocimetry (PIV) is the term used for imaging the fluid flow using colored tracer particles.  Through high speed particle imaging the velocity of the particles can be obtained and mapped.

    Photo Courtesy of Wiki-CommonsFor PIV experiments in water there are a wide variety of 1g/ml microspheres available as seeding particles, Cospheric offers polyethylene seeding particles in a variety of colors (fluorescent and non-fluorescent) and sizes from 10-20um, on up to 1mm.

    Particle size selection is important to ensure that observations can be accurately made.  For imaging systems without any magnification or unaided human observation it is recommended to use micro-spheres that are larger than 200um.   Human eyes can resolve features down to about 75um, at 200um+ the particles will be large enough to be discernible.

    Correctly seeding the system is also important.  For most applications loadings of 0.1-0.3% are sufficient.  This is the equivalent of about 1 gram of particles per gallon of fluid in systems of 10-50 gallons (40-200 liters) .  Exact loading levels will depend on the individual experiment requirements.

    For aqueous systems, polyethylene micro-particles will require a surfactant to wet properly.  For general flow studies pre-wetting the PE microspheres with Simple Green concentrated cleaner works well.  For biological systems a bio-compatable surfactant such as Tween 20 or Tween 80 is recommended.

    Seeding particle color selection is important to ensure that sufficient contrast is achieved during testing.  Very bright fluorescent micro-particles are available in densities of 1g/cc  these offer not only bright testing under daylight conditions, but also the option of illumination with lasers or uv lights for increased system contrast.

    The recommended PIV seeding particles are available from Cospheric.

    For green lasers (530nm)  we recommend UVPMS-BR
    For dark backgrounds: UVPMS-BY, UVPMS-BG, BLPMS, ORGPMS, BSPMS, or WPMS
    For light backgrounds: GRYPMS, VIOPMS, UVPMS-BR, UVPMS-BO