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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Standardization related to Research and Development for Nanotechnologies

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Setting the standard for nanomeasurements

An EU-funded project has drawn up long-term plans to define nanotechnology developments. An early start to standardisation activities helps get new products to the market and ensures that they are safe to use.

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Nanometrology deals with measurement at the nanometre level and is needed in order to develop and exploit nanotechnologies. The field can also enable industry to meet regulations to protect the workforce and demonstrate that nanotechnologies are safe with regard to human health and the environment. However, the demands for measurement of new nanostructures far exceed the capabilities of current measurement science. The objective of the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) 'Standardization related to research and development for nanotechnologies' (Nano-strand) project was to respond to these needs. The project aimed to plan European standardisation, metrology and pre-normative research work for nanotechnologies. Pre-normative research is the preliminary work required for the better characterisation of novel technologies. It also includes evaluating the related safety aspects by applying well-established procedures and methods. Proposing new or modified norms or standards would enable Europe to play an active role internationally with regard to standardisation and nanotechnologies. Three Nano-strand project workshops were held to assess industry needs and potential solutions, and thousands of organisations were invited to respond to a pan-European questionnaire. The results of the project have already impacted standardisation work and normative research in nanotechnologies. The roadmaps developed by Nano-strand have been used to steer standardisation programmes in Europe and also as an input for defining priorities for research in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Thus the project enables integration of European objectives on competitiveness with those covering public health, safety, environmental and consumer protection, as well as international cooperation.

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