National Physical Laboratory

Validation of molecule measurement technique

Validation of a technique to investigate structure and behaviour of molecules will enable expansion into new areas of application.

A polarizing application
One of Farfield Scientific's range of analytical instruments

The Challenge

Farfield Scientific is a highly successful company that designs and develops a range o innovative analytical instruments that probe the structure and functional behaviour of complex molecules attached to a surface. Polymers, surfactants and biomolecules such as proteins and lipids can be studied to give insight into areas such as the behaviour of biofilms, biocompatibility, biomolecular interactions, drug delivery and biopharmaceutical analysis.

The instrument range applies the technique of Dual Polarisation Interferometry (DPI) whereby changes in an optical interference pattern can be related with a high degree of precision to changes in the structure and mass of immobilised molecules as they interact on a surface.

Farfield approached NPL to provide verification of the theoretical basis and accuracy of the technique with a view to extending this capability in existing and new areas of application.

The Solution

A Joint Industry Project was initiated with the aims of developing an analytical model for Farfield's experimental system, validating the model using NPL metrology and defining best practice for validation and calibration of the instrument.

The models developed showed excellent agreement when compared with measurements undertaken on the Farfield instrument, however experimental validation proved to be extremely challenging.

The Impact

The most immediate commercial impact of the project comes from independent validation of the core algorithms used in the Farfield data analysis, and the models that NPL has developed have provided a sound basis for expansion of the technology into new areas, including investigation of protein crystallisation and surface absorption of inks and dyes.

"Farfield is delighted to have received this influential endorsement. Combined with the host of other awards and recognition that DPI has received over the last two years, this again shows that Farfield's products are firmly rooted in the principles of quantitative, scientific measurement and analytical excellence."
Dr Neville Freeman, Development Director, Farfield Scientific

Find out more about NPL's research in Biotechnology

Last Updated: 7 Jan 2013
Created: 3 Jun 2010

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