User Course Overview

Get the most value from your investment by taking part in educational opportunities like these courses from Microtrac.

Course Instructors: Dr. Philip Plantz, Toni Weigel, Service and Laboratory Personnel

Basic training is provided during instrument installation. Full training is offered at Microtrac facilities using the entire Microtrac technical staff of scientists, service personnel, and lab staff. Classes are size-limited to assure proper time to address individual and general questions. Please register early.

Microtrac Inc. has presented formal courses and training for more than 30 years. During that period, Microtrac laser particle size analyzers have been used in all types of industries including chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, ceramics, cement, CMP and many others. There are four primary aspects involved in obtaining correct particle size distributions and their associated values. These include representative sampling, sample preparation, instrument set-up and instrument maintenance. Selecting the proper methods for preparing the sample and obtaining a representative sample are requisites for obtaining repeatable, useful particle size data. The particle size analyst must select and apply one or more of the vast array of methods to achieve the proper particle size results. In order to make the appropriate choices, it is important to understand the underlying principles and the expected outcome of the various procedures that may be used. Hands-on training and demonstrations that complement class instruction reinforces these concepts.

As materials change in size or composition, modifications are required to obtain acceptable, accurate, repeatable measurements. The modifications may include materials handling, representative sampling, preparation, fluid changes, equipment changes as well as parameter settings for optical and physical properties. These aspects of instrument operation for all Microtrac instruments are reviewed and explained. For all laser scattering analyzers, the instruction addresses the selection of the appropriate refractive index, flow rate, software set-up, specification selection and data interpretation as well as how light scattering is used to obtain particle size data. For the Nanotrac, Nanotrac Wave, and Zetatrac, viscosity and temperature effects are important areas for measuring the movement of suspended particles used in dynamic light scattering measurements. The importance of proper selection of these values to the measurement results will be fully discussed. Dynamic imaging instruments (SI and PartAn3D) provide shape information that can be vital to understanding changes in size distributions. Image analysis topics devoted solely to imaging concepts and its potential application are fully explored during class in combination with a laboratory period on Tuesday.

To complete the training, explanations of various data values are offered. Concepts for setting of specifications are then provided so that the participant understands the value and application of the data.

For all instrument types (diffraction, Image analysis, dynamic light scattering, and Zeta potential) maintenance and customer-level troubleshooting will be presented. Ample time is afforded for individual, student-chosen topics, applications, software features and measurement issues. Applications, laboratory, service and sales personnel are fully represented to answer any question concerning any Microtrac topic.


  • A to Z training on all aspects of operation
  • One-on-one advice from Microtrac technical experts
  • How the instruments are designed and work
  • Dry particle and slurry sampling and preparation
  • Data interpretation and explanation
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Terminology used in particle science
  • Microtrac software operation and advanced features
  • Implement proper representative sampling preparation and operating techniques
  • Spec development from size and shape data
  • Understand and implement correct refractive index
  • Basic instrument maintenance and trouble-shooting
  • Review software features: graphical capabilities, pass / fail, trend-plotting, user-defined calculations tabular presentations

The course is designed to address the use and application of any Microtrac instrument, customer question or facet of particle size or shape measurement. It will be of use to anyone needing laser particle size or other type of particle characterization knowledge including process engineers, chemists, chemical engineers, biotechnologists, particle scientists, lab technicians and lab directors.

General Course Information

Dr. Philip Plantz received his MS and PhD degrees from The Pennsylvania State University after receiving a BS in chemistry from Drexel University. Following time as a US Army officer, and after completing an NSF NRC postdoctoral position, he joined the biochemistry instrumentation group at Leeds and Northrup where he was involved with analytical enzyme development. For many years he has been associated with the Microtrac laser particle instrument group during which he has lead the development of many practical methods used for laser particle size measurement. He is presently Director – Laboratory, Applications and Training for Microtrac Inc. and formerly Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at St. Petersburg College in Florida. Dr. Plantz has been the author of numerous presentations and papers in particle size measurement, has written five chapters published in particle size textbooks and served as expert witness for international patent infringement legal cases.

Ms. Toni Weigel has been with the Microtrac particle size group for 25+ years and has been notably involved in particle size method development. She currently is Laboratory Manager for Microtrac, Inc. in York, Pennsylvania. Ms. Weigel is trained in the area of chemistry. She is a certified ISO Auditor, and is cGMP/cGLP certified. Specialties include test method development, FDA validation / method development and transfer. She has co-authored several particle size publications.

Various service personnel will also be available for questions and advice on an individual or group basis.

Previous Registrant Comments

  • “. . . learned so much. You guys really know what you’re talking about. Thank you.”
  • “. . . now I understand how to use shape information and what it means and its value.”
  • “. . . can use the information immediately when I return to my job.”
  • “I really understand now what laser particle size is about and how Microtrac can help me in my job.”
  • “Everyone was very helpful and willing to answer my questions. Lab people very patient with all my questions.”
  • “There was plenty of time for individual discussion with anyone I needed to talk to.”

Course Schedule

Please carefully note the dates for individual courses:
Sample Materials for Friday – Contact Toni Weigel ([email protected]) for information on submitting samples.

Course Type


Light Scattering – Diffraction instruments (S3500, Bluewave and Tri-Blue). Dynamic light scattering (Nanotrac, Wave I and Wave II) and Zeta potential.

Content: Operation; data values; data interpretation; setting specification; operation settings; refractive index; sample preparation; software and using databases; maintenance and basic troubleshooting.

June 25-26

November 19-20

Dynamic Image Analysis – SI image analyzer. Normally taken along with diffraction training described above to complete the training experience.

Content: Why image analysis? Applications, operation / calibration, values to use, set-up and SOP use, viewing particles, scatter diagrams, parameter values, data interpretation, setting specification, operation settings, software and using databases. Maintenance and basic trouble-shooting.

June 27

November 21

Tuesday – Light Scattering Instruments

 Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS)-Nanotrac, Zetatrac and Nanotrac Wave and Wave II Course

  • Design of the Nanotrac instruments
  • Viscosity, temperature, density selection
  • Volume and intensity distributions
  • Operation and maintenance
  • One-on-one applications and operation discussions
  • FLEX software training for graphs, statistics, trending, etc.
  • Colloidal suspension and Zeta potential / stability concepts
  • Laboratory session – operation and software applications (databases, comparing data, printing PDFs, tools)

Diffraction Course (S3500 / S3000, Bluewave, X100 / SRA)

  • Fluid and dry powder models
  • Light and diffraction particle size measurements
  • How Microtrac diffraction instruments work
  • Operation, Maintenance and trouble-shooting
  • Cell cleaning
  • One-on-one individual discussion with Microtrac staff
  • FLEX Software training for graphs, statistics, trending, etc.
  • Laboratory session – operation and software applications ()databases, comparing data, printing pdf, tools)

Wednesday – General Particle Size and Data Explanation

Included as Part of Both Dynamic Light Scattering and Diffraction Course –

  • General particle size measurements
  • Particle size statistics, values and graphs
  • Microtrac Data interpretation
  • Setting particle size specifications
  • Refractive index selection and Mie scattering
  • Effect of particle shape on particle measurements
  • Sample preparation and using optical microscope to assist
  • Representative sampling
  • Correlating particle size methods
  • Validation, certification, qualifying, FDA and cGMP/cGLP, 21 CFR Part 11
  • Question and answer period

Thursday – Image Analysis (SI model only):

ONLY for SI (fluid suspension) module. It may be connected to stand-alone Sample Delivery Controller (SDC) or connected to diffraction instrument with circulation system.

  • Why do image analysis? Seeing is believing!
  • Basic software settings
  • Operation/calibration
  • Saving images and re-measurements from saved images
  • Defining particle shapes
  • Applications
  • Values and parameters to use
  • Set up and SOP use
  • Viewing Particles
  • Using Scatter Diagrams
  • Selecting Parameter Values
  • Interpreting Data
  • Setting Specification
  • Using saved databases for comparisons
  • Maintenance and Basic Trouble-shooting
  • Laboratory – operation and software applications (databases, comparing data, printing pdf, tools)

Details of the Microtrac Courses Conducted in York, PA

Please contact Microtrac for details on other course locations

Location: Courses presented in York, PA (south of Harrisburg) are at the Microtrac, Inc facility, which can be reached from Harrisburg Int’l Airport, Baltimore Int’l Airport or Philadelphia Int’l Airport by rental car or airport shuttle. Please check with the arrival airport for detailed information.
Address: ATTN: Microtrac Courses, Toni Weigel        Microtrac, Inc., 3230 N. Susquehanna Trail, York, PA 17406

Phone: 1-888-643-5880 X214 FAX: 717-843-9402. Email: [email protected]

Language: English

Course and Hotels

Course: Electronic registration is available using the website. If registering by mail, the registration form (below) should be mailed to the above York, PA address. Forms can also be emailed to Toni Weigel ([email protected]). Forms may also be sent by FAX to 717-843-9402. Upon acceptance into the course, the participant will be sent confirmation information with other pertinent information approximately 3 weeks in advance of the dates of the desired course.


Hotel Accommodations: Course Confirmation information will be sent 3 weeks in advance and will contain a list of hotels conveniently located nearby. Participants are expected to make personal reservations with the hotel of their choice. It is recommended that participants stay at hotels within the area. Hotels listed may offer special Microtrac discounts (please check with the chosen hotel for specific information). For those wishing to explore the area attractions and restaurants after hours, it is advisable to rent a car. Rental cars are available at all airports.

Maps: General area maps are available for the York area from various websites, hotels and the airport. Please see the Microtrac website for map and directions to Microtrac facilities. Maps and directions are also provided as part of the confirmation information sent 3-weeks before the course. In general, the maps provided by Microtrac will provide the most detailed information and directions
Participant Responsibilities: Participants are responsible for all lodging, meals, airfares, car rentals and extra-curricular activities. A list of suggested hotels, maps and other useful information will accompany the “Confirmation for Attendance” letter (See below). Confirmation letters are sent by e-mail approximately 3 weeks in advance of a course. Microtrac provides a morning coffee/tea/Danish break, and lunch.
Cancellations: Cancellation within 2-weeks of the course will be billed $250. A substitute for the registered participant is permitted and encouraged.
Price: New instrument purchases provide for free training. Please check date of installation. NANOTRAC, Nanotrac Wave and Wave II 2-Day Course ($995.00). Two-Day Diffraction Course ($995.00). Three-Day Combined Nanotrac, Nanotrac Wave (Wave II) and Diffraction Course ($1495.00). Four-day combined Image and Diffraction ($1495.00). Please be sure that payment accompanies the Registration Form to assure a reserved place. Accepted methods of payment include credit card or purchase order. 50% discount for 2nd or more participants from the same company.
Sample Measurements Fridays of course weeks can be used to measure a limited number of samples in the York facility only. For San Diego course, samples may be sent to York. This must be pre-arranged with the laboratory. Contact Toni Weigel for details. Consultation fees with electronic copy purchase order (not PO# only) or Credit Card information will be required which Ms. Weigel will address. Price: Reduced pricing for course attendees: Total, inclusive for up to 3 samples – $300. Request quote for more than 3 samples. More than 3 samples will be according to lab pricing schedule on a per-sample basis.


Microtrac, Inc. reserves the right to cancel any under-subscribed course or other reason that requires cancellation. In case of cancellation, registered participants will attempt to be notified by e-mail three weeks or more before the course starting date or as necessary when situations may change due to unexpected occurrences. Previously registered participants will be given priority for registering for the next available course. Contact Microtrac for information and assistance.

Microtrac Inc. assumes no responsibility for any plane or hotel expenses incurred by participants should a cancellation of the course occur.

Do not plan attendance unless Microtrac, Inc. has confirmed the course in writing by e-mail.

Click here to download the form if you wish to register by e-mail, US mail or fax.

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