Standards and Guidelines
Global nanotechnology research and applications leading to product commercialization are experiencing explosive growth. Corporations, and even nations, are embracing nanotechnology research as an avenue for technology leadership, jobs creation and the means to solve challenges to society (environmental impact, energy, healthcare, infrastructure development). In the U.S., nanotechnology research is supported through the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). As global investment in nanotechnology continues, real and somewhat mundane nanotechnology-based products are already commonplace in the market, including carbon-black in tires and aircraft, titanium oxides in cosmetics, and silver nanoparticles in refrigerators, laundry equipment and food packaging.
Nanotechnology is both promising and worrisome at the same time. Assessing the health, safety and environmental implications of nanomaterials are evolving. There have been some indications that nanomaterials might be harmful to humans and the environment, but much more science is required to have a clear understanding.
As science and technology advance, observation and manipulation techniques at the nanoscale have become possible. Indeed, this advance of science has been essential in sustaining the development of nanotechnology. This development has taken place across many sectors, various research institutes, universities, and industry using the terminologies, research approaches, and evaluation methods of their own technology sectors.
To unify the scientific community, a common set of terminology is required. Standards bodies have been working on the language surrounding nanotechnology development. Additionally, these organizations have the responsibility to resolve public concerns about the use of nanotechnology in every-day products. Science must be applied to Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) concerns, and proper evaluation of the toxicological and eco-toxicological effects of nanotechnology must be made for all commonly used nanomaterials.
The major standards bodies involved in nanotechnology standards development are (Note: include link to their nanotechnology website):
- ISO, International Organization for Standardization (ISO TC 229)
- IEC, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC TC 113)
- IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE Nanotechnology Council)
- ASTM International (Committee E56 on Nanotechnology)
ISO TC 229
The scope of ISO TC 229 is:
Standardization in the field of nanotechnologies that includes either or both of the following:
- Understanding and control of matter and processes at the nanoscale, typically, but not exclusively, below 100 nanometres in one or more dimensions where the onset of size-dependent phenomena usually enables novel applications,
- Utilizing the properties of nanoscale materials that differ from the properties of individual atoms, molecules, and bulk matter, to create improved materials, devices, and systems that exploit these new properties.
Specific tasks include developing standards for: terminology and nomenclature; metrology and instrumentation, including specifications for reference materials; test methodologies; modeling and simulations; and science-based health, safety, and environmental practices.
The work of ISO TC 229 is organized in the following disciplines:
- Terminology and nomenclature – ISO TC 229/IEC TC 113 Joint Working Group 1 (JWG1);
- Measurement and characterization – ISO TC 229/IEC TC 113 Joint Working Group 2 (JWG2);
- Health, safety, and environmental aspects of nanotechnologies (Working Group 3)
- Material specifications (Working Group 4)
- Products and applications (Working Group 5)
- Sustainability, consumer and societal dimensions of nanotechnologies (Task Group 2).
The combined efforts of these Working Groups and the JWGs are reflected in the ISO publications currently available for the nanotechnology community.
IEC TC 113
The scope of IEC TC 113 is:
Standardization of the technologies relevant to electrotechnical products and systems in the field of nanotechnology in close cooperation with other committees of IEC and ISO.
In short, ISO TC 229 publishes standards for nanotechnologies in general, whereas IEC TC 113 is focused solely on nanotechnology standards impacting electrical and electronic applications.
The work of IEC TC 113 is organized around the following technology profiles:
- Performance assessment (Working Group 3)
- Reliability (Working Group 7)
- Graphene related materials/Carbon nanotube materials (Working Group 8)
- Nano-Enabled Photovoltaics Thin Film Organic/Nano Electronics, Nanoscale (Working Group 9)
- Luminescent nanomaterials (Working Group 10)
- Nano-enabled energy storage (Working Group 11)
The combined efforts of these Working Groups and the JWGs are reflected in the IEC publications currently available for the nanotechnology community. This includes the following joint IEC/IEEE publication:
IEC/IEEE 62659: Nanomanufacturing – Large scale manufacturing for nanoelectronics
ASTM International E56 Committee on Nanotechnology
The E56 Committee sponsors the publication of ASTM standards, special technical publications and journal papers relevant to nanotechnology, and collaborates with ISO TC 229 on the development of terminology and nomenclature.
With all of the major standards body efforts presently taking place across the globe, standards are in place and the portfolio will continue to grow with new discoveries and advancements. These standards give the nanotechnology community international consensus-based metrics for the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of materials and components used in nano-enabled products and systems. Plenty of additional detailed information is available to the public through the links shown above.