NIST reference materials are 'gold standard' for bio-nanotech research

Jan 09, 2008
NIST reference materials are 'gold standard' for bio-nanotech research
False color scanning electron micrograph (250,000 times magnification) showing the gold nanoparticles created by NIST and the National Cancer Institute's Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory for use as reference standards in biomedical research laboratories. Credit: Andras Vladar, NIST

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has issued its first reference standards for nanoscale particles targeted for the biomedical research community—literally “gold standards” for labs studying the biological effects of nanoparticles. The three new materials, gold spheres nominally 10, 30 and 60 nanometers in diameter, were developed in cooperation with the National Cancer Institute’s Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL).

Nanosized particles are the subject of a great deal of biological research, in part because of concerns that in addition to having unique physical properties due to their size, they also may have unique biological properties. On the negative side, nanoparticles may have special toxicity issues.

On the positive side, they also are being studied as vehicles for targeted drug delivery that have the potential to revolutionize cancer treatments. Research in the field has suffered from a lack of reliable nanoscale measurement standards, both to ensure consistency of data from one lab to the next and to verify the performance of measurement instruments and analytic techniques.

The new NIST reference materials are citrate-stabilized nanosized gold particles in a colloidal suspension in water. They have been extensively analyzed by NIST scientists to assess particle size and size distribution by multiple techniques for dry-deposited, aerosol and liquid-borne forms of the material. Dimensions were measured using six independent methods—including atomic force microscopy (AFM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), differential mobility analysis (DMA), dynamic light scattering (DLS), and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). At the nanoscale in particular, different measurement techniques can and will produce different types of values for the same particles.

In addition to average size and size distributions, the new materials have been chemically analyzed for the concentrations of gold, chloride ion, sodium and citrate, as well as pH, electrical conductivity, and zeta potential (a measure of the stability of the colloidal solution). They have been sterilized with gamma radiation and tested for sterility and endotoxins. Details of the measurement procedures and data are included in a report of investigation accompanying each sample.

Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology

Explore further: Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nanosafety research: The quest for the gold standard

Oct 29, 2014

Empa toxicologist Harald Krug has lambasted his colleagues in the journal Angewandte Chemie. He evaluated several thousand studies on the risks associated with nanoparticles and discovered no end of shortc ...

Recommended for you

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact

Oct 29, 2014

A team led by the Lawrence Livermore scientists has created a new kind of ion channel based on short carbon nanotubes, which can be inserted into synthetic bilayers and live cell membranes to form tiny pores ...

An unlikely use for diamonds

Oct 27, 2014

Tiny diamonds are providing scientists with new possibilities for accurate measurements of processes inside living cells with potential to improve drug delivery and cancer therapeutics.

User comments : 0

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.