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Particles for Breakfast: Using Laser Diffraction for Particle Sizing in Food

Most food items on the breakfast table are in particulate form at one time or another during their production process, either in powder form or as emulsions. With its ability to measure both liquid and dry dispersions and its wide, nanometer-to-millimeter measuring range, the PSA is ideally suited to the requirements of production and quality control in the food industry. Wake up to the benefits of laser diffraction by looking at a few of its foodstuff applications.

Particle size in foodstuff not only affects most aspects of the production process, such as transport, storage or shelf life, but also crucially influences organoleptic properties, such as taste and mouthfeel.  Here we look at a few selected food industry applications using Anton Paar’s Particle Size Analyzer (PSA), which measures particle size by laser diffraction technology.

Laser diffraction is based on the observation that the angle of light diffracted by a particle bears a direct correspondence to its size. The size of the particle and the angle of the diffracted light have an inversely proportional relationship, i.e., the angle decreases as particle size increases. In the PSA, dispersed particles (in dry or in liquid form) are directed towards a laser beam, which gets diffracted by them. The resulting laser diffraction pattern is recorded by detectors and then analyzed by a mathematical model, producing a particle size distribution.

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