Joint Research Centre - European Commission

JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE
The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Nanotechnology research at the JRC

Nano-writing in silicon using a Focused Ion Beam

Nano-writing in silicon using a Focused Ion Beam © EC (2009)

The JRC takes an active part in research on nanotechnology as a support to European policy making. The research ranges from the development of methodologies for human safety and risk assessments, studies on the environmental impact of nanomaterials, applications of nanomaterials in energy production, and the production of reference materials.

 

 

Functionalised tip for Atomic Force Microscopy produced by the JRC

Functionalised tip for Atomic Force Microscopy produced by the JRC © EC (2009)

The activities are carried out in close collaboration with universities and research institutions, and with active engagements in international organisations like OECD, ISO and CEN. 

 

 

Nanobiotechnology, nano-safety and risk assessment

Nanofabrication process of a polymer prepared with colloidal lithography in order to produce a sensor for the study of protein interaction

Nanofabrication process of a polymer prepared with colloidal lithography in order to produce a sensor for the study of protein interaction© EC (2009)

An important objective of the JRC research is to reduce the knowledge gaps related to nanotechnology impacts on human health and the environment. The research targets improved risk assessment and management, but also the study of innovative possibilities of nanotechnology. The JRC houses extensive expertise and laboratory equipments for studies of, for example, the interaction of nanomaterials with living organisms in order to obtain a better understanding of potential risks to health and the environment.

The NANOhub is a comprehensive IT platform dedicated to the management of safety/risk assessment information on nanomaterials.

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Applications for cleaner energy

JRC study on platinum nanoparticles for the use in fuel cells by transmission electron microscopy

JRC study on platinum nanoparticles for the use in fuel cells by transmission electron microscopy© EC (2009)

JRC research on energy production technologies addresses for example clean coal and biomass applications including research on thermo-chemical hydrogen reactions and CO2 compression and purification, where nanotechnology offers unique features for improved performances. Another focus is research on fuel cell power chain integration and testing, including hydrogen safety in storage and transport. Here, fundamental mechanisms underlying the hydrogen storage processes in solid-state systems are studied. Nanotechnology research in this area will serve to obtain higher storage densities, but also to optimise measurement methodologies.

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Nanomaterials in the environment

The JRC performs advanced research on nanoparticle metrology

The JRC performs advanced research on nanoparticle metrology© EC (2009)

The environmental fate of nanomaterials used in consumer products is largely unknown today. The JRC activities here are included in a larger coordinated study on human health impact assessment of environmental risk factors and in a project concerning the environmental assessment of European waste and the sustainable use of resources.

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Reference materials and metrology

The JRC-IRMM offers various certified reference materials for nanotechnology applications

The JRC-IRMM offers various certified reference materials for nanotechnology applications © EC (2009)

As one of the leading producers of reference materials world-wide, the JRC develops and markets certified reference materials for standardization and metrology in nanotechnology. The JRC is also involved in research on metrology for the reliable sizing of nanoparticles, including definition of measurands for particle sizing as well as metrological tracebility and uncertainties.

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