Combining Laser Diffraction with Dynamic Image Analysis

A New Dimension in Particle Analysis

With the SYNC particle analyzer, Microtrac MRB integrates its highly accurate tri-laser diffraction analyzer technology with its versatile dynamic image analysis capability to provide particle characterization practitioners with a unique measuring experience. The patented synchronous measurement technology allows users to make both a laser diffraction measurement and an image analysis measurement on a single sample, in the same sample cell at the same time:

  • One sample
  • One optical bench
  • One flow path
  • One sample cell
  • One analysis
The SYNC laser diffraction particle size analyzer is ideally suited for routine QC applications. It also provides valuable information to researchers as they develop new materials and processes. The powerful analyzer software provides both particle size distribution information as well as a multitude of morphological particle parameters. The patented BLEND routine allows users to examine materials over a wide range of sizes from 0.01 microns to 4000 microns.
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"There was a little bit of a learning curve in terms of making sure that the powder was correctly suspended in the wet system to mitigate the possibility of air bubbles but the application team swiftly addressed the issues we were having. It runs beautifully. "
"I have used Microtrac instruments for over 35 years and the dependability has been excellent. The instruments are easy to use and they present repeatable results. In my opinion, the name Microtrac is so widely used that it is often used in place of the term Particle Size Analysis. " David Sobieniak Saint-Gobain
"Impressive results and analysis options. Short measurement runtime."
Ilmars Preikss
Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies
"Really easy to use. Fast and accurate results on many different samples liquid or solid. "
Maxime Drolet
"Easy to use and very reproducible results. "
Chris Ooms
Cabot Corporation


  • Particle size and shape analysis from 0.01 to 4000 microns using laser diffraction (ISO 13320:2020) and dynamic image analysis (ISO 13322-2)
  • Excellent sub-micron detection using blue laser technology. Ability to resolve narrow and multi-modal distributions in the sub-micron range
  • Detection of small amounts of oversized or undersized fractions in the particle size distribution
  • Patented synchronous measurement technology and BLEND distribution analysis. One measurement run in the analyzer yields particle size distribution and over 30 morphological parameters
  • Fast measurement time – typically 30 seconds
  • Fast and easy switch between wet and dry measurement modules. Change from wet to dry mode in less than 15 seconds
  • Full IQ / OQ validation package compliant with FDA 21 CFR Part 11 guidelines


Laser diffraction analyzer with the patented tri-laser system

Particle size measurement by Laser Diffraction (LD) has become the most used technology in research and industry and is the de-facto standard for incoming and outgoing product quality control. During the measurement, the laser beam of the analyzer illuminates a well dispersed sample and the size distribution is calculated from the scattered light pattern. In Microtrac MRB’s laser diffraction analyzer technology, this scattered light is measured at various angles from 0.02 to 163 degrees. This is achieved by using two detector arrays and three lasers that illuminate the sample from different angles. The SYNC particle analyzer may be equipped with all red lasers or a combination of red and blue lasers.

Small particles scatter light at large angles while large ones scatter light at small angles. The scattered light intensity is collected continuously throughout the measurement. In Microtrac laser diffraction analyzers the evaluation is done using Microtrac’s innovative modified Mie scattering theory. This algorithm produces accurate size distributions for both spherical and non-spherical particles as well as for both transparent and absorbing materials.




The characterization of particulate systems, once dominated strictly by size measurements, is evolving. Dynamic Image Analysis DIA, which determines important parameters related to particle morphology, provides detailed information regarding the physical properties of materials. These key properties and the resulting manufactured product can change drastically with no significant differences reported in the Laser Diffraction size distribution. Image analysis can rapidly identify problems and significantly reduce troubleshooting time. Particles in a flowing stream, backlit by a high-speed strobe light, are photographed by a high-resolution digital camera to create a video file of images for the flowing particles.

More than 30 size and shape parameters are acquired for every particle. Although the measurement technology of DIA is straightforward, the data analysis used to identify and solve problems is very powerful. The analyzer software includes filter functions to search, display, and evaluate particles with specific properties or a combination of properties. Data can also be presented in scatter plots, in which each data point represents a single particle image.



Combining Laser Diffraction with Dynamic Image Analysis

Microtrac’s SYNC provides traditional users of laser diffraction analyzers with exciting new capabilities to characterize their materials. The proven Tri-Laser technology provides accurate and repeatable laser diffraction results from light collected over 163 degrees of angular scatter. When combined with state of art camera technology capturing images of the particle stream at the same time, the SYNC analyzer offers not only size data from its laser diffraction system but significantly more information about the shape of the materials and the quality of the dispersion. Material is either dispersed in a carrier fluid for wet measurements in the FLOWSYNC or dispersed in air for dry powder measurements in the TURBOSYNC.

As the sample stream passes through a single measurement cell in the optical module of the analyzer, it is interrogated by the lasers. The stream is simultaneously illuminated by stroboscopic LED to allow the high-speed camera to take images of the same material. This allows users the flexibility to determine particle size distributions from an ensemble sample dispersion as well as the ability to examine single as well as groups of particles from the hundreds of thousands of images captured by the camera. The user ultimately has the ability to look individually at a laser diffraction or an image analysis, or at a combination of both using the patented BLEND feature. This combination provides QC users of the analyzer the ability to qualify their data using two methodologies at the same time and provides R&D users with a powerful tool to characterize new materials.



  • Laser diffraction analyzer with the patented Tri-Laser design (red & blue lasers available)
  • Detector array covering 0.02 – 163 degrees
  • Stroboscopic light source and integrated camera for dynamic image analysis
  • Same bench & dispersion system for laser diffraction & image analysis
  • Wet and dry analysis, easy change
  • Small footprint


Optimum solutions for every industry

metal powder



No other particle analyzer allows more rapid change from wet to dry and vice versa.

The modules can be removed from the analyzer with a single movement and reinstalled just as easily. All necessary cables and hoses are permanently connected to the back of the analyzer. This means that no changes to the measuring instrument or modules are required during the actual changeover.

Removal of measuring cells or tedious plugging and un-plugging of mechanical and electrical connections is no longer necessary. This makes the process a real plug-and-play operation.