Frequently Asked Questions




Question – What is the principle of operation of the NanoLIBS?

Answer- The NanoLIBS operates on the principle of Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, which is an atomic emission spectroscopy method that functions by exciting and then atomizing the samples with a highly energetic pulsed laser to form a plasma, then collecting the emitted elemental signals by detectors to a resulting spectrum for further mathematical analysis and thus for material identification.


Question- What is the NanoLIBS’ intended use?

Answer- The NanoLIBS is a handheld LIBS instrument for analysis and identification of salts to meet requirements of raw material identification in the pharmaceutical industry.


Question – What salt materials can NanoLIBS identify?

Answer - The NanoLIBS has been optimized to identify the most popular salt materials such as NaCl and KCl.


Question – Can the NanoLIBS be used for Ionic salt and organic salt identification?

Answer- Our NanoLIBS is good for identifying ionic salts. Organic salts are compositionally mostly the elements C, O, H, and can be identified using Raman spectroscopy and our NanoRam. We have positively identified the organic salts magnesium stearate and calcium stearate using NanoLIBS and NanoRam and recommend NanoRam for organic salts identification.


Question – Can NanoLIBS measure materials like MgCl2 or CaCl2 which can easily absorb water from air?

Answer – The NanoLIBS can measure and identify MgCl2 and CaCl2 in their anhydrous states. In a humid environment MgCl2 and CaCl2 are prone to absorb water from air and the LIBS signal will be decreased and may not be strong enough to measure.


Question – I’m interested in identifying NaHCO3. Is NanoLIBS capable of doing this?

Answer – Yes, NaHCO3 can be measured by NanoLIBS but because the sample is not very dense the signal may be impacted by the LIBS measurement process and the ablation of the surface that occurs. The NanoLIBS measures the sample and automatically judges if the signal is strong enough. The NanoLIBS device will automatically adjust the integration time and re-shoot the laser to take another measurement to collect optimal data. This process may require several laser shots to get a good signal. The NaHCO3 is very dry hence its surface can easily be ablated by the laser shot from NanoLIBS. To get a strong enough signal it’s better not make repeated measurements on the same spot, so that the laser shot will always be at the sample surface, and not in the crater created by the last shot.


Question – Can NanoLIBS measure salt material in liquid or gas state?

Answer– The NanoLIBS is designed for the measurement of compact solids with an even surface.


Question – Can NanoLIBS measure salt material in powder?

Answer – The NanoLIBS is designed for the measurement of compact solids with an even surface. A powder sample may not have a sufficiently strong signal for the NanoLIBS, and it is recommended that the material be compressed into a tablet form.


Question - Can NanoLIBS measure salt material in pellet form without a flat surface?

Answer – The NanoLIBS is designed for the measurement of compact solids with an even, flat surface.


Question – Do I have to use hydraulic press to press the salt powder into tablet?

Answer – Different salts need different pressure to be pressed into tablet with “good quality” flat surface. “Good quality” here means that the signal measured by NanoLIBS is strong and stable during the measurement. The use of a hydraulic press is recommended because it can guarantee a “good quality” flat surface. If a hydraulic press is not allowed in your use environment, you can use a manual press to make the tablet which can generate strong signal by NanoLIBS. We have successfully made salt pellets of the materials given here using a hand press.


Question - What is the best size for the pressed tablet?

Answer - The sample holder of the NanoLIBS is designed for a 13mm diameter tablet. Samples of diameter as small as 3 mm have been measured successfully, and accessories to support this sample size are available.


Question - Do you have any recommendation for the hydraulic press or manual press?

Answer – A hydraulic press (Carver Inc. model 4350 with a 13mm die set) can be used to press salt powder into tablets with a “good quality” flat surface.

For manual press, PIKE TECHNOLOGIES’ hand press (model 161-1100 with its 3mm die set) can be used. It can do a good job for most of the salt materials because it has a smaller diameter die (3mm) for higher pressure and a larger diameter collar (13mm) that fits into the NanoLIBS’ sample holder.


Question- How much pressure should I apply when using hydraulic press to press salt powder into tablet?

Answer- Usually five thousand kilogram pressure is enough for most materials. We have successfully used pressure up to seven thousand kilograms.


Question - How often do I need to clean the aperture window?

Answer - A quick clean with a cotton swab is recommended for every new measurement. Thorough cleaning is recommended biweekly. However, if the NanoLIBS device is used very frequently every day, the aperture window may be contaminated sooner hence a more frequent schedule of thorough cleaning may be necessary.


Question - How often do I need to do the performance validation?

Answer – The performance validation is recommended to be run on a daily basis.


Question - Can I use the battery and the external power adaptor at the same time?

Answer - Only external power adaptor will be working when both the battery and the external power adaptor are plugged in at the same time.


Question - Can I hot-swap the battery when the external power adaptor is plugged in?

Answer - Yes.


Question - Can I charge the battery when it’s in the NanoLIBS device?

Answer - The NanoLIBS is designed for handheld use hence does not support charging the battery when it’s in the device. We provide two batteries and an external battery charger for user’s convenience so that one battery can be used in the NanoLIBS device while the other one is being charged in the external charger.


Question - In general what do I need to pay attention to when using NanoLIBS?

Answer -
1) Sample needs to have a “good quality” flat surface. Use hydraulic press to make tablet if you can.
2) Keep the sample’s flat surface well in contact with the front nose piece of the NanoLIBS device.
3) A clean window always helps to get the best signal strength and quality.
4) Avoid measuring moist or hygroscopic samples, not only because they do not generate a strong signal, but also because moist samples generate debris that can easily contaminate the window, the front nose, and the sample holder. With this being said, don’t measure MgCl2 or CaCl2 if they have absorbed water.


Question - Is the NanoLIBS 21 CFR part 11 compliant?

Answer - Yes the NanoLIBS operating software and the LID data management software are both 21 CFR part 11 compliant.


Question - How do I verify system performance?

Answer - The NanoLIBS is supplied with a traceable validation samples that should be run on a regular basis to verify system performance.


Question – Does the NanoLIBS require any consumables?

Answer – Yes, cotton swabs should be used for cleaning the aperture window.


Question – I have a question but it’s not in your FAQ, where can I find the answer?

Answer- The NanoLIBS user manual has complete instructions on system operation. You can contact our support team at We are always listening.