This world is incredible in its intricacies, many of which we are still discovering and exploring. There are entire worlds that our species did not have a clue about before the invention of the microscope. In fact for the bulk of the time that humans have existed, we have not had a lot of the knowledge that we have today. This thought provokes the question of how much we actually know and what we still have yet to understand. Much of what we know today in regards to science, medicine, and technology are all the result of relatively recent developments, when you look at the grand scheme of things.
And one of the most amazing things about how we learn and develop new ideas is the ability we have as a species to collaborate and build on previous theories, inventions, and discoveries. A curious innovator could stumble upon something, and a century or more later, new innovators and explorers are further developing on those initial findings. This process of collective education and exploration can be evidenced in the realm of nanotechnology and particle size analysis as well. And this is where the BET analysis instrument comes in.
What is the BET analysis instrument?
The BET analysis instrument has to do with particle size determination by understanding the adhesion of gas particles and molecules on a solid surface. The name comes from the chemists and physicists who published the BET theory in 1938. The three men were Brunauer, Emmett, and Teller, thus BET. Stephen Brunauer was a scientist who first immigrated to the United States in 1925 from Hungary. Paul Hugh Emmet, an American, was a chemical engineer with a vast spread of scientific contributions throughout the world over the course of his lifetime. Edward Teller, also originally from Hungary before moving the the U.S. in the 1930s, was famously known as the father of the hydrogen bomb.
The BET theory itself addresses the measurement and analysis of any given material’s surface area, determined by the levels of gas that it absorbs.
The intricate science of microscopic measurements
Using the BET theory to calculate a surface area using absorbed gas particles is a type of measurement that likely was not even a consideration when the first weight scale or distance ruler was invented. But now that these worlds have been opened up to us, there have been great strides in being able to make such measurements. There are sieving methods, laser diffraction, dynamic light scattering, and sedimentation. Finding out the accurate particle size is important in several applications, including the determination of performance and quality of emulsions, aerosols, and powders, among other things.
We will continue to make discoveries and developments. The brilliant minds of tomorrow will build upon the ideas that were uncovered and formed by the brilliant minds of today and yesterday. As long as we put significant effort into finding a balance with the world around us, there is no telling what we can discover and create as a species.