European Reference Materials # Technology developments and quality management
Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements
Acronym: Europ RM
This action covers the development of new types of certified reference materials (CRMs) for reliable sizing in the emerging technology area of nanotechnology, to help establishing metrology in nanotechnology ("nanometrology"), to give input to the European Commission's interservice group on nanotechnology and to support the development and/or harmonisation of international standards, mainly via participation in CEN, ISO and Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards (VAMAS) committees.
Another specific task is the production and certification of certified reference materials in the field of engineering materials as required for European Commission's Directives and European and international standardisation organisations.
This action is also responsible for the distribution of all non-nuclear certified and non-certified reference materials, including the reference materials to support Community Reference Laboratories (CRLs). This activity results in a large number of customers outside the European Commission, namely the laboratories to which the reference materials are distributed.
Contributing actively to the setting of international standards is an important feature of this action. The staff of this action provides input to the ISO Committee on Reference Materials (ISO REMCO), to European Association of National Metrology Institutes (EURAMET), European Co-operation for Accreditation (EA) and Co-operation on International Traceability in Analytical Chemistry (CITAC), is representing the European Commission in the Steering Committee of VAMAS, in the Research Council of EURAMET and in Eurachem, and is further deepening the "European Reference Materials" (ERM) Initiative.
Technology developments are required for the production of new formats of reference materials aiming at improving the analytical equivalence between real-life samples and certified reference materials. Therefore, in an initial phase test runs and pilot studies will be conducted to investigate alternative stabilisation methods for biological materials by exploiting new equipment and instrumentation.
This action also covers the quality management of all the already certified reference materials and of those which are currently being planned or produced by the other RM actions (22006, 15012, 33003 and 22007) in agreement with the accreditation according to ISO Guide 34, including peer review by external experts. Also included are the horizontal quality management activities including accreditation, the adequate storage of reference materials to maintain their quality, their distribution to customers on a worldwide scale, relations with IRMM's Authorised Distributors to increase the distribution and marketing, and the systematic post-certification monitoring of stability and shelf-life assessment for all CRMs.