Reading Scientific Services Limited (RSSL) has unveiled the latest stage of its expansion which includes a partnership with Agilent.
RSSL is the sole Agilent partner laboratory in the UK for atomic spectroscopy, so will be the premiere site for developing new techniques and applications for Agilent's technologies and offering a demonstration site for their equipment.
New equipment includes ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry), ICP-OES (inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy), AAS (atomic absorption spectrometry), and MP-AES (microwave plasma-atomic emission spectrometry).
These four complementary technologies can quantify trace metal contamination in all kinds of matrices, with accuracy and efficiency not possible by wet-chemistry methods.
RSSL is now equipped to deal with all the analytical challenges posed by different metals in different matrices, such as regulation EC 1881/2006 which sets the maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuff, including lead, cadmium, mercury and inorganic tin.
All round investment
The laboratory has also invested in its Physical Sciences department meaning they can offer enhanced services in shelf-life/stability testing and analysing the flow properties of materials.
New technology includes a LUMiSizer Dispersion Analyser, a third DVS (Dynamic Vapour Sorption) system, and an upgrade to RSSL's TA Instruments ARES G2 Rheometer.
The LUMiSizer Dispersion Analyser is an instrument that combines a near infra-red (NIR) probe with an analytical centrifuge.
It can investigate separation and sedimentation phenomena in suspensions and/or emulsions.
Twelve samples can be analysed in one session, generating data to calculate and predict suspension or emulsion shelf life.
Rather than having to perform visual observations over several months in traditional static ICH stability testing or by performing basic centrifugation techniques, the LUMISizer can generate shelf life-like data at a significantly faster rate.
Particle size data can also be generated based upon the rate of sedimentation of a product.
RSSL's Physical Sciences department now has three DVS systems, whichare gravimetric instruments used to quantify at which temperature/relative humidity combinations moisture is absorbed or released, understanding their hysteresis is key.
Materials such as food products or ingredients may be tested by applying controlled temperature and humidity profiles, enabling the accurate measurement of weight changes caused by absorption or desorption.
The data generated using this analytical tool can assist in informing storage and packaging requirements for the material in question.
Upgraded components for RSSL's ARES-G2 rheometer will enhance capabilities in research and material development/assessment.
A forced convection oven (FCO) and liquid nitrogen cooling system means the lab can offer rheological measurements over wider shear-rate and temperature ranges.
The FCO also ensures that the temperature is homogeneous throughout the test sample by completely enveloping the sample and spindles whereas more basic rheometers tend to only heat/cool from the base of the sample.