BASF is using more and more Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC) to characterize surface properties of particles of batteries, catalysts, building materials and many others. “IGC as a one-fits-all technique gives great – but hardly explored – details” Dr. Matthias Kellermeier, BASF, Material Physics, Ludwigshafen, Germany, summarized it perfectly during his talk “Characterizing complex surfaces of industrial relevance by inverse chromatography”.
Ten speakers from industry and academia exchanged their experiences with IGC during the 7th International IGC Symposium, 19.06.2018 in Cologne – with participants from 8 countries. The basic principle is quite easy: “15-20 different gas probes are used like AFM-tips to explore the surface properties” Dr. Ralf Dümpelmann, Inolytix AG, Switzerland, explained. “Many polar, apolar, cyclic and branched molecules are used to provide surface energies, nanoroughness, polarities and electron donor and acceptor properties”. Picture: Steven Abbott with results of the discussion group.
Practices & applications of IGC
However, the practices itself and the applications are very different, as the presentations showed. Dr. Peter Schiffels, Fraunhofer Inst. Bremen, showed the different surface qualities of lignin intended as precursor for bio-based carbon fiber production. Another practice was a good differentiation of industrial TiO2 samples shown by Sven Böhm, Kronos International, Leverkusen. In addition, the effect of different mills and grinding conditions on the mineral attapulgite was explained by Rachel Calvet, Ecoles des Mines, Albi, France. Other speakers provided examples about carbon black particles and zeolites.
Current limitations of IGC
The principles of IGC as such are very useful, but often there seemed to be limitations in terms of instrumental setup (concentration range, non-symmetric peaks, number of probes) and also controversial methodologies (“nominal” surface coverage treated as “real”, no operation under “ideal diluted” conditions). As a result, the true potential of IGC often seems not fully explored – with BASF as a positive exception, as mentioned above.
A new, automated and flexible setup
Therefore, Dr, Eric Brendle, Adscientis SARL, France, complemented this challenge by explaining not only the requirements of an ideal setup but also the advances towards an automated and fully flexible IGC. Controlled and highly accurate syringes for the injection of gases and liquids provide not only “ideally diluted” conditions, but also exact p/p0 settings for desorption isotherms. Altogether an excellent step towards reliable, industrial applications.
Finally, an interactive session and wrap-up presentations provided everyone a great picture of all the experiences, some limitations and many opportunities. Looking forward to see you next year in June... exact date and location to be announced!
This is the part of year to look forward to some time with family and friends, relax (we hope you can do so!) and look at the fading year 2017. And it is the time to wish you, our clients, our business partners and many more contacts a successful and prosperous New Year 2018!
Developing special areas with new customers worldwide
For Inolytix the year 2017 has brought a substantially broader customer base and exciting developments in surface characterisations, for example:
Open collaboration with science-based approach
A positive support, a science-based approach and the thrive for improvements is at the heart of our business, now completing its fourth year, e.g.
Whatever the year 2018 brings to you – we wish you confidence, enthusiasm and a portion of luck, too.
Part 2 - How to ACCESS scientific articles
In part 1 we gave some tips and hints how to FIND scientific literature using Google Scholar (lean!), SciFinder or ISI Web of Knowledge (expensive... unless you work in academia or a large corporation and get everything for FREE) .
Great! Now you have the reference and probably the abstract, but you would like to check the full publication for some useful information. And there is the PAY button of 36 USD - what to do?
Paying is of course a good option. However, if you want to scan quite a few papers this could become easily very expensive... There are other ways!
We like to share our experiences of cost and time-efficient approaches. Today, we feature ACCESS, the second of three categories:
Featured tools today in the category ”ACCESS”
DeepDyve is the Spotify for scientific literature! You can read as many publications as you like, but you can not download them. The costs are about 1 USD per day, if a full year is "booked". And there is an allowance to print 20 and sometimes even 40 pages per month. Personally, I use DeepDyve since 3 years and are quite happy with it. Many publishers are supporting it, but not all (ACS not 😟). And search does not work with the DOI... but it is just great to view many different publications when researching a topic and not worrying about access rights or costs.
Officially, ResearchGate is the largest social networking site for scientists and researchers to ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. Inofficially, it is also a good way to share, respectively access papers. And when using Google Scholar the link to the respective document in ResearchGate is often even displayed on the right side. I believe it is legally a grey area, but it is often quite useful.
Sci-Hub is a pirate site “...to remove all barriers in the way of science”. Well, most likely 100% illegal (Elsevier filed 2015 a legal complaint...), but even Nature nominated the founder, Alexandra Elbakyan, among the top 10 people who mattered most in year 2016. And if you are not afraid of some obscure russian websites and you are desperate to get just this article, it can be an option...
Open Access Journals
Your lucky day! Open access journals are becoming more and more popular... also because there are options to get access without paying. In 2015 over 10'000 journals were open access journals. However, the publishers work must be paid somehow and in this case the authors, their respective universities and companies or other subsidising organisations pay to publish the articles.
You want to use scientific information more?
You need to use scientific information more to make better decisions?
We might help you - especially in the area of analytical methods, surfaces and interfaces.
An informal request and some answer is always free and often gives fresh thoughts in a new directions...
(email@example.com, +41 79 3129327)
Experts, Topics & Impressions - all about Surface Characterisation by IGC
This year we received an extremely positive feedback from the participants. And to summarize it, the success ingredients for this symposium were:
Highly qualified participants, very engaged discussions and a nice location beside the Rhine in Cologne.
Speakers and participants of BASF, Pfizer, Kronos, Bayer, DSM, Fraunhofer, Clariant, Helmholtz, Schott, Porotec, Adscientis and others exchanged there experiences about
How is Inverse Gas and Liquid Chromatography (IGC, ILC), a dynamic adsorption method, used in industry and institutes and what are good – or even bad - ways of use and interpretation?
Some content details and insights
The conference webpage and the video below provide more insights, but let us summarize a few more details of the different speakers and presentations just here:
A brief workshop in small groups gave all participants the opportunity to reflect many facts and discuss topics as best operating conditions, challenges and new applications.
Altogether a memorable event - see you next year!
Does this sound familiar? A major supplier changes the production process – everything is within specifications, but your application just does not work as good as before – or even fails!
This was exactly the situation when we analyzed 5 different samples of lactose for a global pharma company in Basel, Switzerland, without knowing anything about the use and the performance of the individual samples of lactose. The 5 powder samples were analyzed by a method called Inverse Gas Chromatography or just IGC, which is able to identify tiny differences in surface properties by dynamic pulse adsorption of 15 or more different gases.
One sample clearly stood out in terms of surface accessibility (measured by branched, cyclic and linear alkanes), polarity and acid-base properties (measured by different polar molecules). As it turned out, this was the “good” sample with excellent dissolution behavior – and from the old production. The other samples were clearly differentiated by IGC and their application behaviors were around borderline. IGC data provided not only a clear indication which samples were “good” and “bad”, but also a unique indication, why the samples behaved differently and how the lactose and its surface properties might be optimized.
IGC is a powerful technique to characterize surface properties of any powders, particles and fibers. Adscientis SARL and Inolytix Ltd provide an outstanding service lab not only to characterize your samples, but also to provide interpretation and understanding. And soon, together with Porotec, we are just launching a powerful, new IGC instrument to facilitate also your in-house IGC analysis.
Do you have comparable problems? The 6th International IGC Symposium, June 20th, 2017, Cologne, brings together experts from BASF, Kronos, Fraunhofer and more. Or just write an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or take the phone (+41 79 312 9327).
Desire for more information?
We started already three years ago with Inolytix. Now we want to extend and improve our services.
At the moment we are supporting R&D departments and product development with very specialised analytical methods to solve their problems.
We would like to learn from you what are your challenges in your R&D work and your product development?
How can we support you better in your challenges?
Please take 2 minutes to answer the following survey. This would help us very much to go into the right direction.
Part 1 - How to FIND
Do you have access to all scientific journals and time to follow-up questions in the literature for your R&D team?
We assume that the vast majority of your answers will be: “No”
If you answered “Yes”, you are one among very few people these days.
In true life, companies are cutting down on journal access and adding administrational hurdles to order scientific articles. There are only a few tools to organize the information collected, and maybe some may even use Excel. Even if all those obstacles are cleared, where do you find the time needed for an efficient evaluation?
“We don’t find the time and brainpower for a 1-2 day focussed search and evaluation“ is a common comment of our customers.
You want to use scientific information more?
You need to use scientific information more to make better decisions?
We decided to share our experiences, tool tips and hints to reach this goal in a cost- and time-efficient way. In the coming months I will share my personal tips and hints and present you one tool after the other. There are three categories:
Featured tools today in the category ”FIND”
Google Scholar is a relatively powerful tool. Search results can be sorted or selected by year, citations are displayed and alerts can be set - not bad for a free service!
Example: "Inverse Gas Chromatography" delivers 309'000 hits. This are definitely to many to search efficiently, but sorting by date or significance or adding a substrate provides more or less good results. In additions, citations are provided offering an elegant way to search forward based on a relevant publication.
Scifinder provides a well-structured search, especially for chemical experts. It is very useful to have if you are working in the chemical industry. However, the costs of several thousand Euro per year may not be neglected for an SME or a startup.
Example: "Inverse Gas Chromatography" as entered delivered 1867 references and as concept 3855 references. Wow - this is much more precise! And it can be precisely refined by substances, authors or other topics. Google scholar is not there yet... but maybe soon with advanced text recognition and artificial intelligence.
ISI Web of Knowledge
ISI web of knowledge is another source. It covers several databases many more disciplines than SciFinder. Often used in academia and – of course – quite costly for industrial use.
What to do with the information? A brief, but focussed literature research can be very powerful, or as one of our customers said: “Your report is an important jigsaw piece to solve our problem …”
We could also be your Research Partner delivering a brief, concise report and Recommendation.
Contact us for a free consultation call for your specific request.
NEXT TIME: more info about ACCESS and STORE & RETRIEVE with tools like DeepDyve, Researchgate and Papers.
It is all about characterizing surface properties especially of particles, fillers, fibers, even minerals for flotation. IGC stands for Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC), a method where the material with unspecified surface properties is being placed inside a GC column. But let's go step by step.
Practical examples and an amazing variety of topics!
This is already the third time we are organizing this symposium together with Adscientis, but this time the program offers so far the greatest variability, practical examples and broadest learning experiences.
Characterization of TiO2 pigments, metal-organic frameworks, minerals and porous glass surfaces
All these materials have been studied and optimized by Kronos International, Fraunhofer Institute, Helmholtz-Zentrum and University of Leipzig using pulses of gases, also known as Inverse Gas Chromatography. But how did surface energy, nanoroughness, polar interactions or Ka, Kb-values translate into better understanding of the products? The experts will share their experiences!
Surface Properties of Organic materials
For example, polysaccharides change surface properties by functionalization. And IGC is a very sensitive tool to measure it, as Dr. José Gamelas will explain. He published 2013 an excellent review about surface properties of cellulose and lignocellulosic material by IGC, see link. Difficult to measure Hansen Solubility Parameters (HSP) of excipients and liquids can be determined as a liquid layer by IGC. Dr. Eric Brendle, Adscientis, will explain the results he obtained on this topic for many pharma companies.
Inverse Liquid Chromatography - even more applied
IGC and it derived values have a very solid theoretical fundament, but sometimes the application is just in liquid phase and it is more interesting to study the behavior in-situ. Inverse Liquid Chromatography (ILC) may offer a way to study adsorption and desorption behavior under very controlled conditions, but in liquid phase and in-situ!
Dr. Matthias Kellermeier, BASF, will provide some industrial examples of ILC. The physicochemical properties of hydroxyapatite (“bone mineral”) based on ILC will be shown by Dr. Katarzyna Adamska. And for sure, some discussion will arise, where ILC might be used, too.
This IGC Symposium has a nice tradition of bringing together industrial and academic experts, foster exchange and support different approaches - with the goal to learn from each other and advance. We, the organizers, are proud to keep it this way!
Courious? Read more and register here: http://inverse-chromatography.com
Prof. Steven Abbott has an amazing way to present complex topics, like IGC, in short, 4-5 min videos.
In cooperation with Eric Brendle, Adscientis and myself, he created a nice collection of explainer videos - watch yourself:
IGC - what??? Check the video below for a super fast explanation!
Ever wondered how your material looks inside?
New analytical methods like Microtomography (XMT) are able to generate image data we did not have before: huge amounts of data. In our case 2048 images per sample. Based on synchrotron based X-ray radiation and the computing power of today the sample is analysed in a few minutes or even seconds - with voxel sizes down to 325 nm and quantifiable image analysis.
Academic high-tech? Not at all! Industry is encouraged to use the facilities and Inolytix helps you to interact smoothly with researchers. Discover your own products, see what normally stays hidden!
Study of heterogeneous catalyst pellets
Combination of Methods: 3D-characterization + Microtomography
Conventional analysis: Scanning electron microscopy of one (1) image after sample preparation.
The Inolytix way: Synchrotron-based X-ray Microtomography with 2048 image slices in 4 minutes without any sample preparation. 3D-image analysis for structural quantification.
Are catalyst pellets homogenous?
Do the pelletising process and any treatments deliver uniform morphologies? Are there heterogenities or irregularities? These were the underlying questions of a recent study of catalyst pellets we performed.
Without any sample preparation, the 3D-characterization of catalysts pellets was possible with synchrotron based X-ray microtomography. Thanks to the additional quantitative image analysis of thousands of images, we could reveal that the catalyst pellets examined had heterogeneous inner structures with distinct differences. Surprisingly, the structural differences were clearly visibly at a scale above 300 nm, i.e. well beyond the scale of micro- and mesopores. Hidden aspects became visible - with new insights for our customer!
Find the appropriate analytics for your case
Inolytix is your expert to pick and choose the methods that make the most sense for your needs. We draw upon our +20 years of R&D experience to add a 360 degree interpretation of your results.
Your Partner for the entire cycle from experiment design to measurement to analysis and interpretation.
Contact us for a free consultation call for your specific request.
A tri-national cooperation takes surface characterization of powders and fibers by Inverse Gas Chromatography (IGC) to new heights
What happens, if three entrepreneurial scientists of different companies but with the same spirit and complimentary skills come together? Right - they come up with ideas for a new product! And that just happened...
“It is great to bring all this experience together in this cooperation. It has always been my dream to use my experience to develop a new instrument, and together we can do this. IGC4.0 will be a new standard on the market.”
Eric Brendlé, CEO Adscientis
Surface characterization of powders, fibers and porous materials today is still very tricky. With a technique known as inverse gas chromatography (IGC) it is possible to detect the real interface properties by pulsing many different gases through a sample.
The three tri-national companies Adscientis (F), Inolytix (CH) and Porotec (D) share their passion for scientifically sound solutions, real insights into material properties and industry-oriented services and will be launching a new fully automated instrument on the market in 2017.
The combined power of knowledge and project experience of three companies captured in this new instrument will provide a huge added value in R&D departments. Being able to tailor new surface properties will facilitate numerous developments and new products in many industrial segments.
Read the detailed announcement of the tri-national collaboration here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about further steps and its market launch in 2017
Your Inolytix team