EU Science Hub

JRC releases world's first certified mixture of silica nanoparticles

SEM micrograph of ERM®-FD102
Nov 04 2014

For the first time a certified reference material containing silica nanoparticles with a distinct bimodal size distribution has been released by JRC-IRMM. It has been designed and produced to support the implementation of the nanomaterial definition recommended by the European Commission (2011/696/EU).

The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has developed a certified reference material (CRM) that consists of a mixture of near-spherical silica nanoparticles of two distinct sizes (nominally 20 nm and 80 nm in diameter) in an aqueous solution.

Silica nanoparticles have been widely used in numerous established and promising new applications such as abrasives in polishing slurries, food additives for clarification of beer and wine, and as drug delivery systems. However, along with the growing interest of introducing new product features in consumer products via nanoparticles, concerns related to possible particle-induced adverse health effects are increasing. To support toxicologists in studying and understanding the behaviour and fate of nanoparticles, accurate characterisation of the nanoparticles' physico-chemical properties (e.g., size, shape, surface charge) is a fundamental requirement. This new CRM (ERM®-FD102) is world's first of its kind and allows testing laboratories to validate particle sizing methods in a metrologically sound manner in the nanoscale range (1 nm to 100 nm).

The release of ERM®-FD102 concludes several years of product development, in which the homogeneity and stability of the material were rigorously assessed. The certified and indicative particle size values were determined in collaboration with 30 laboratories from 9 different countries in Europe, America, Australia and Asia, thus bringing together expert knowledge from across the globe. The characterisation measurements were conducted by different measurement techniques, including dynamic light scattering, atomic force microscopy, electron microscopy, particle tracking analysis and centrifugal liquid sedimentation.

ERM®-FD102 is a benchmark that will help to ensure the comparability of measurement results worldwide, thereby facilitating trade and enhancing innovation. Because of its distinct bimodal particle size distribution, the material is ideally suited to support the development of methods for the implementation of relevant EU legislation such as the European Commission's Recommendation on the definition of 'nanomaterial' (2011/696/EU).


The certification report, together with the certificate, are available in our online catalogue.