Frequently Asked Questions




Question – What is the principle behind the NanoLIBS?

Answer- The NanoLIBS is an atomic emission spectroscopy method that functions by exciting and then atomizing the samples with a highly energetic pulsed laser to form plasma, then collecting the emitted elemental signals with the resulting spectrum used 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 – Does the NanoLIBS meet the requirements of the pharmaceutical industry?

Answer- Atomic spectroscopy is recognized by the USP and EP for pharmaceutical testing. Currently there are not monographs specific to the atomic spectroscopy technique of LIBS.


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. It features 3 levels of operation, and data synchronization to a secure database via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Reports from the LID data management and reporting software have electronic signature.


Question – What salt materials can NanoLIBS identify?

Answer – The NanoLIBS has been optimized to identify the most popular monatomic salts used as raw materials in the pharmaceutical industry. Identification methods for NaCl, NaBr, KI, KCl, and KBr (materials that are not Raman active) can be created on the NanoLIBS. MgCl2, CaCl2 and NaHCO3 (which are Raman active) can also be identified using the NanoLIBS.


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

Answer– Our NanoLIBS is designed for identifying ionic salts. Methods for identification of MgCl2, CaCl2 and NaHCO3 can be built on the NanoLIBS. We have positively identified the organic salts magnesium stearate and calcium stearate using NanoLIBS and NanoRam and recommend the NanoRam family of handheld Raman devices for organic salts identification, as the covalent bonds of these organic salts include C, O, H, with distinctive vibrational spectra.


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 is better not to make repeated measurements on the same spot, so that the laser shot will always be at the sample surface, and not in the crater that may have been created by the last shot.


Question – Can users create spectral libraries on the NanoLIBS?

Answer – Methods and libraries for identification and investigation of samples are built on the system by users with administrator or developer-level system access. A library is not included with the system.


Question – How do I verify the NanoLIBS system performance?

Answer – The performance validation using a NIST-traceable aluminum alloy standard is recommended to be run daily on the NanoLIBS. The software has a performance validation test feature, as well as a system self-diagnosis that verifies the system components, including laser and spectrometer, are operating.


Question – What is the light source in the NanoLIBS?

Answer – The NanoLIBS uses a class 3B NIR laser of 1030 nm wavelength. The laser is not visible to the eye, and appropriate safety features including interlocks, a proximity sensor and laser safety goggles are included with the system.


Question – Can the NanoLIBS measure salt material in powder?

Answer – The NanoLIBS is designed for the measurement of compact solids with an even, flat 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. The focal point of the NanoLIBS is optimized for the measurement of compact solids in contact with the nosepiece.


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

Answer– The NanoLIBS is a handheld device designed for the measurement of compact solids with an even surface. It has a sample holder to support solids compressed into a 13 mm diameter pellet form.


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 a “good quality” flat surface. “Good quality” 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. Salt pellets of the materials given here can be made using a hand press if sufficient force can be exerted by the user to form a flat surface.


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, a Pike Tchnologies’ hand press (model 161-1100 with a 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 5000 kilograms of pressure is enough for most materials. We have successfully used pressure up to 7000 kilograms to press salt tablets.


Question – Is there any recommended system cleaning and maintenance?

Answer – Because there is an ablation of the surface of samples by LIBS, sample residue may settle on the aperture window on the NanoLIBS nose. A quick clean with a cotton swab of the sample holder is recommended for every new measurement. Thorough cleaning of the aperture window is recommended biweekly. However, if the NanoLIBS device is used very frequently every day, the aperture window may be contaminated sooner, and hence a more frequent schedule of thorough cleaning may be necessary. Annual instrument certification for the NanoLIBS is available, performed on site by a trained service engineer.


Question – Does the NanoLIBS require any consumables?

Answer – Yes, cotton swabs that are used for cleaning the aperture window are a consumable for the NanoLIBS.


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

Answer – Only the external power adaptor will be working when both the battery and the external power adaptor are plugged in at the same time. The NanoLIBS is designed for handheld use and does not support battery charging in the device. The battery must be charged in the supplied battery charging cradle. We provide two batteries and an external battery charger for user convenience so that one battery can be used in the NanoLIBS device while the other one is being charged in the external charger.


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) Samples need to have a “good quality” flat surface. Use a hydraulic press to make the 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 – 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