Microscopy and digital image analysis


Primary particles are vacuum dispersed in air or liquid on object-glass prior to image analysis and magnified

Optical Microscopy and digital image analysis can be used for:

  • Determination of particle size distribution.
  • Statistical evaluation of Particle shape, e.g. aspect ratio (ratio between breadth and length), which gives valuable extra information -complementary to laser diffraction – about particle morphology.
  • Overview of particles dispersed in liquid or air.
  • Observation and identification of foreign particles in the sample (pollution). Suspicion of pollution should be followed by elemental analysis by EDX/SEM or I.R./Raman to confirm foreign particles.
  • Search for evidence of crystallisation in amorphous solid dispersions.

It is possible to determine the particle size distribution by number or calculated volume (0.5 µm – 2 cm). For size distribution purposes, more than 10000-50000 particles are typically processed.

For Material Experts: 

Instruments and measuring principle  

Particle Analytical uses an automated optical microscopy device Morphology G3 manufactured by  MalvernPanalytical.

InstrumentMorphologi G3, particle size and particle shape image analyser from Malvern
USP/Ph. Eur.USP 776 /Ph. Eur 2.9.37 
Particle size0.5 µm – 2 cm
Dispersion pressure range0.5 bar – 5 bar. Dispersion pressure precision: 0.1 bar increments
ResultImages and diagram of particle size distribution: Size, shape, transparency, count, location. Aspect ratio, circularity, convexity, elongation, high sensitivity (H.S.) circularity, solidity fibre elongation, fibre straightness


Consult our Experts


Dr. Changyong Lu
QC Chemist

Dr. Anna Shevchenko
Principal Scientist


Carlton RA (2011) Pharmaceutical Microscopy. Springer Science & Business Media.

Gamble JF, Tobyn M, Hamey R. Application of image-based particle size and shape characterisation systems in the development of small molecule pharmaceuticals. Journal of pharmaceutical sciences. 2015 May 1;104(5):1563-74.

Liang X, Xu G, Li Z, Xuan Z, Zhao H, Peng D, Gui S. Effect of micronisation on Panax Notoginseng: In vitro dissolution & in vivo bioavailability evaluations. 

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