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Optimizing Your Treatment Process with Microscopic Particulate Analysis

Are you optimizing your treatment processes by using data from a microscope?  Are you monitoring your drinking water source water for algae blooms that could cause taste and odor issues?  Or, is your team short-staffed and overwhelmed with other responsibilities that result in the microscope in your lab collecting dust and your team to have to react rather than prevent?  Fluid Imaging Technologies has an innovative product called the FlowCAM that is being used in aquatic research, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, and water/wastewater treatment applications for dynamic imaging particle analysis.  The FlowCAM allows you to run a sample through the analyzer and within a matter of minutes have a count and categorized library of particles that are present in the sample.  The FlowCAM can be used for:

  • Protozoa counts
  • Coagulation/Flocculation Analysis
  • Sludge Age
  • Presence of Higher Life Forms
  • Filamentous Identification
  • Clarifier  & Filter Optimization
  • Taste & Odor Causing Algae Monitoring
  • Filter Efficiency Monitoring
  • Grit Removal Optimization

Dynamic imaging particle analysis uses digital images to measure the size and shape for each particle in the sample. Essentially, the operator in classical microscopy is replaced by a computer to extract the information from the images.  The sample containing the particles streams by the microscope optics in the flow cell, and hundreds of particle images are captured per second.  In order to freeze the moving particles in space, a strobed illumination source is combined synchronously with a very short shutter speed in the camera. As each frame of the field of view is captured, the software, in real time, extracts the particle images from the background and stores them.

The FlowCAM dynamic imaging particle analyzer offers VisualSpreadsheet software, which enables you to sort and filter your data based on any of the measurements (or combination of measurements) acquired for the particles.  Then it displays the results in both tabular format and visually in the form of the particle images themselves.  You can interact with the scattergram created to quickly select particles of interest from any of the configurable graphs.  You can also build filters with the FlowCAM to isolate particles of a particular type automatically in the sample.  Multiple filters can be created, saved, and reused, which allow you to separate a sample into its component parts based upon particle properties.  One filter type is a value filter.  For example, you can choose particles within a specific size range that are long and skinny.  The other type is a statistical filter, where you can click on several images that are of a particular type, and the software finds images similar to those selected.


Dynamic imaging particle analysis combines the benefits of manual microscopy with those of volumetric techniques. Microscopic particle measurements are taken from images, quickly enough to produce statistically significant amounts of particle data. Additionally, many different measurements are taken for each particle – providing the detailed information often needed for a thorough particle analysis. The addition of specialized software also enables sophisticated post-processing of data to give you a more in-depth analysis of the sample and a better understanding of your data.

Streamline your microscope analysis time at your drinking water or wastewater plant with the use of a FlowCam.  For more information or to schedule a demonstration, contact your local representative.

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