Reference material could aid nanomaterial toxicity research

September 6, 2012 by Michael Baum
TEM image shows the nanoscale crystalline structure of titanium dioxide in NIST SRM 1898 (color added for clarity.) Credit: Impellitteri/EPA

(Phys.org)—The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a new nanoscale reference material for use in a wide range of environmental, health and safety studies of industrial nanomaterials. The new NIST reference material is a sample of commercial titanium dioxide powder commonly known as "P25."

NIST Standard (SRMs) are typically samples of industrially or clinically important materials that have been carefully analyzed by NIST. They are provided with certified values for certain key properties so that they can be used in experiments as a known reference point.

Nanoscale titanium-dioxide powder may well be the most widely manufactured and used nanomaterial in the world, and not coincidentally, it is also one of the most widely studied. In the form of larger particles, titanium dioxide is a common white pigment. As , the material is widely used as a , a sterilizing agent and an ultraviolet blocker (in sunscreen lotions, for example).

"Titanium dioxide is not considered highly toxic and, in fact, we don't certify its toxicity," observes NIST chemist Vincent Hackley. "But it's a representative industrial nanopowder that you could include in an environmental or toxicity study. It's important in such research to include measurements that characterize the nanomaterial you're studying—properties like morphology, surface area and . We're providing a known benchmark."

The new titanium-dioxide reference material is a mixed phase, nanocrystalline form of the chemical in a dry powder. To assist in its proper use, NIST also has developed protocols for properly preparing samples for environmental or toxicological studies.

The new SRM also is particularly well suited for use in calibrating and testing analytical instruments that measure specific surface area of by the widely used Brunauer-Emmet-Teller (BET) gas sorption method.

Additional details and purchasing information on NIST Standard Reference Material 1898, " Nanomaterial" are available at www.nist.gov/srm/index.cfm.

SRMs are among the most widely distributed and used products from NIST. The agency prepares, analyzes and distributes nearly 1,300 different materials that are used throughout the world to check the accuracy of instruments and test procedures used in manufacturing, clinical chemistry, environmental monitoring, electronics, criminal forensics and dozens of other fields.

See "Protocols for Measurement and Dispersion of Nanoparticles" at www.nist.gov/mml/np-measurement-protocols.cfm.

Explore further: Newly improved reference material targets infant formula analysis

Related Stories

New NIST SRM supports the fight against terrorist bombings

May 30, 2012

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a new standard reference material (SRM) to aid in the detection of two explosive compounds that are known to be used by terrorists. Researchers designed ...

Recommended for you

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity

July 28, 2015

When it comes to installing solar cells, labor cost and the cost of the land to house them constitute the bulk of the expense. The solar cells—made often of silicon or cadmium telluride—rarely cost more than 20 percent ...

Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode

July 29, 2015

A team of researchers from Berkeley Lab and Columbia University has passed a major milestone in molecular electronics with the creation of the world's highest-performance single-molecule diode. Working at Berkeley Lab's Molecular ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.