ANSI - American National Standards Institute

National Nanotechnology Day is October 9

On this National Nanotechnology Day – October 9 – the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) pays homage to the nanometer scale – 10-9 – and recognizes the efforts of those standards-setting organizations and their technical experts that are working to develop standards that will benefit the entire nanotechnology community, including: manufacturers, suppliers, regulators, and consumers.

What is Nanotechnology?

“Nano,” from the Greek “nanos” or “dwarf” is 10-9, but its impact is not just based on its size; it is the unique phenomena that occurs in this size range that scientists, and manufacturers are utilizing to both create new products as well as enhance existing products. Nanotechnology-developed- and nano-enabled products promise to help make our computers faster, detect and treat diseases earlier and more effectively, even make our socks odor free.

As these products enter the marketplace in greater numbers, it is important that producers of nanomaterials and applications, users of these materials and applications, and regulators rely on voluntary consensus standards to help ensure effective communication, consistent characterization of nanomaterials and protection of both human beings and the environment.

Celebrate National Nanotechnology Day

Well, we think that getting involved in standards development work is the best way to celebrate the importance of nanotechnologies. But if you’re looking to do something a little more physical, why not run the 100 billion nanometer dash?

Don’t worry, it’s only 100 meters.

And if you want to beat Usain Bolt’s world record time, you’ve got 9,580,000,000 nanoseconds to do it.

Getting Involved in Nanotechnology Standardization Work

Nanotechnology experts can participate in standards development activities in a number of different fora. Here are a few options:

ANSI’s Nanotechnology Standards Panel

Nanotechnology Standards Panel

ANSI’s Nanotechnology Standards Panel (ANSI-NSP) serves as the cross-sector coordinating body and provides the framework within which stakeholders can work cooperatively to promote, accelerate, and coordinate the timely development of useful voluntary consensus standards to meet identified needs related to nanotechnology, including: nomenclature and terminology, research, development, and commercialization. 

The ANSI-NSP was established by ANSI in 2004 at the request of Dr. John Marburger, then Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

In addition to standards for terminology, experts participating in the ANSI-NSP early on recognized that nanotechnology standards were also needed in the areas of I) measurement and metrology, II) environmental, health, and safety guidelines, and III) processes and manufacturing.

In recent years, the work of the ANSI-NSP has expanded from identification of priority areas to include providing support and advocacy for existing standards efforts. In 2013, the NSP launched its Nanotechnology standards database – nanostandards.ansi.org – a community-driven effort to bolster the visibility of nanomaterials and nanotechnology guidance documents, reference materials, and standards, by capturing information about documents that directly relate to nanomaterials and nanotechnology-related processes, applications and products. In 2015, the NSP launched its quarterly ANSI-NSP newsletter, which provides information regarding nanotechnology standards and related topics of interest, including guest columns from experts within the nanotechnology community. Both of these efforts are intended to increase awareness and coordination of standards efforts underway, as well as encourage members of the nanotechnology community to become engaged in standards activities that will benefit their respective industry sectors and the public interest. 

Participation on the ANSI-NSP is open to all interested parties.  Learn more at  www.ansi.org/nsp.

ISO Nanotechnology Standards – TC 229

ISOIn 2005, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) formed a technical committee - ISO/TC 229 on Nanotechnologies which develops International horizontal standards in areas of terminology and nomenclature; measurement and characterization; health, safety and environment; materials specifications; and products and applications. 

Currently 37 countries participate in this ISO committee that has published 61 documents since its inception. As of October 2017, TC 229 is also developing over 30 new documents.

As the U.S. member body to ISO, ANSI opens the door for U.S. stakeholders to participate in this important work via the ANSI-Accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/TC 229. 

The U.S. holds important leadership roles within TC 229, including the Convenorship of Working Group 3 on Health, safety and environment, as well as chairing two TC 229 advisory groups, called Task Groups, focused on Consumer and societal dimensions of nanotechnologies, and issues pertaining to nanotechnology and sustainability.

ISO/TC 229’s first environmental health and safety document, published in 2008, was based on work originating in the U.S.:  the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Approaches to Safe Nanotechnology: An Information Exchange with NIOSH.  ISO/TR 12885 – Health and safety practices in occupational settings relevant to nanotechnologies, provides information to help companies, researchers, workers, and others to help prevent adverse health and safety consequences during the production, handling, use, and disposal of manufactured nanomaterials. ISO/TR 12885, adopted as a national standard by a number of countries, is still widely utilized and referenced by industry today.

U.S. TAG members currently lead the development of approximately fifteen ISO Standards, Technical Specifications and Technical Reports in areas such as determination of nano-object particle size distribution using a variety of spectroscopy techniques, toxicity assessment, and occupational health and safety. ISO/TC 229’s standards catalogue is available online.

Participation in the ANSI-Accredited U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 229 is open to all U.S. stakeholders. For more information, contact Heather Benko, hbenko@ansi.org.

IEC Nanotechnology Standards – TC 113

ISOThe International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) established its TC 113, Nanotechnology standardization for electrical and electronic products and systems, in 2006. The U.S. National Committee to the IEC (USNC) TAG to TC 113 is the forum through which U.S. technologists and manufacturers of nano-enabled electrotechnical products can participate in the development of standards for characterizing nanoscale-attributes and the reliability and durability of nano-scale subassemblies.

Standards drive the commercial landscape and accelerate commercialization and mass production of new technologies. Since the formation of IEC TC 113, we have seen the same in nanotechnology for the electrical and electronic sectors. As the U.S. has the largest nanotechnology manufacturing base in the world, there are countless opportunities for breakthroughs from industry and the scientific community that will lead to safer and more reliable and functional electrotechnical products, including renewable sources of electricity for home and transportation needs, flexible video displays, and compact electronic devices. Mass manufacture of these products will translate to more U.S. jobs and improved U.S. competitiveness in the international marketplace, if we are proactive in standardization work for this emerging field. Otherwise, countries and regions around the world will prevail in setting those standards for us and put us at a competitive disadvantage as new nanotechnology applications emerge and mass production expands.

Nanomaterial suppliers and product development experts in nano-electrotechnical measurements and performance assessments are urged to join the TC 113 TAG and help the U.S. lead in this vital work. For questions, contact TC 113 TAG Secretary Mike Leibowitz, NEMA.

Case Studies on Nanotechnology Standardization

Nanotechnology standardization is making a difference
– on National Nanotechnology Day and every day.

PETA International Science Consortium Ltd.


PETA The growing number of types and forms of nanomaterials require robust in vitro methods to assess their health and environmental effects. Standardized protocols are pivotal for generating high-quality, reproducible data for assessment of these novel materials. Standards committees - such as the International Standardization Organization’s (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 229 on Nanotechnologies - bring international experts from diverse fields together to contribute towards the development of protocols, which is critical for global harmonization of nanomaterial testing.

The use of standards for nanomaterial testing leads to generation of reproducible data, enabling inter-laboratory comparison; increases confidence in methods, thereby reducing the need for repeat testing; and leads to a better understanding of nanomaterial effects aiding in regulatory decision-making.

Participating in the standards-development process allows me to promote the development and global implementation of robust, reliable, human-relevant test methods that can reduce the cost and animal use associated with nanomaterial testing.

- Monita Sharma, Nanotoxicology Specialist

ASTM International


ASTM Committee E56 Provides the Tools to Get the Size Right

ASTM Established in 2005, ASTM International Committee E56 is one of the few international standards development committees focused solely on nanotechnology. Committee E56 has published standards on informatics, nano-enabled consumer products, and education and workforce development. The committee consists of six technical committees, with approximately 180 members from 20 countries around the world. The scope of Committee E56 is the development of standards and guidance for nanotechnology and nanomaterials, and the coordination of existing ASTM standardization related to nanotechnology needs. The committee welcomes all users and producers of nanomaterials and nano-enabled products, technical experts and parties with a general interest to work towards further development of nanotechnology and nanomaterial standardization. Meetings are held twice a year in May and November, and standards development work continues throughout the year using electronic tools and virtual meetings.

In nanotechnology, the size of the material affects almost everything, from the ability of a nanoparticle to traverse the blood-brain barrier and treat a cancerous tumor to the toxicity of a nanoparticle to fish in a lake. Photon Correlation Spectroscopy (PCS), also known as Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), is a routine characterization tool used extensively in nanotechnology for the determination of the size distribution of nanoparticles suspended in a liquid.  ASTM International’s Technical Committee E56 on Nanotechnology offers a PCS standard measurement method for nanoparticles in the typical size range of 1 nm to 100 nm. This standard is special in that 26 laboratories used the method to measure the size distributions of gold nanoparticles taken from a single batch of solution containing gold reference materials produced by NIST. Interlaboratory studies such as this one engender great credibility to a standard, so manufacturers of nanoparticle-containing products feel confident in using the standard to characterize their own material. There are myriad industrial applications of nanoparticles for which PCS is a primary size characterization method. A sampling of industries is given below. In a 2015 survey by the Nanomedicines Alliance, 85% of participating companies use PCS for characterization and quality control . Indeed, E56’s PCS standard is one of a few international standards recognized by the FDA in evaluating submissions of new nanoparticle-containing drugs.  PCS is used to characterize silver nanoparticles in solutions that are applied to commercial consumer goods such as clothing and textiles for antimicrobial protection. The size distributions of oxide nanoparticles used as pigments in coatings and paints are determined by PCS. E56’s PCS standard gives a broad spectrum of industries a tool to get the size right!

 You can find out more about Committee E56 or by contacting Kate Chalfin at       kchalfin@astm.org.

Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology Nanotechnology Institute


IEST The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) is on the cutting edge of controlled environments and testing in nanoscale applications. The Nanotechnology Institute focuses on science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, with an emphasis on the facilities that serve nanotechnology research and development. IEST members are developing new, groundbreaking Recommended Practices that will provide direction for the design, construction, and operation of nanotechnology facilities, now and in the future. IEST also contributes to international standardization in Nanotechnology within ISO/TC 209, Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments, and is one of the founding members of ISO/TC 229, Nanotechnologies. Now in its 64th year, IEST’s ESTECH Annual Meeting and Exposition features nanotechnology through conference sessions, working group meetings, and a vendor expo. During IEST’s Fall Conference, Nano Working Groups meet to develop Recommended Practices. To become involved with an IEST Working Group and contribute to the development of these valuable documents, contact IEST at techdepartment@iest.org.

If you are working in nanotechnology facility design, construction, or operation and are not involved in the IEST, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute.

 Visit iest.org/Nanotechnology-Institute for more information.

TAPPI’s International Nanotechnology Division

ISO TAPPI is the leading international association for scientists and engineers in the paper industry, and its International Nanotechnology Division focuses on the development, production and use of industry renewable or sustainable nanomaterials. One of the key materials the Division focuses on are cellulose nanomaterials, which can be extracted from trees. Researchers around the globe are finding uses for these materials in cement, drug delivery, barrier films, electronics, composites and other applications.

The Division has been involved in standards development, and produced a roadmap in 2011. Presentations at the Division’s annual conference feature updates on international standards development activities in the area of cellulose nanomaterials. The conference draws over 300 delegates from over 20 countries and features the latest advances in research, and updates from producers.

TAPPI is an ANSI-certified standards developer, and has been producing standards for the paper, packaging and nonwovens industry since 1915. TAPPI also publishes peer-reviewed Technical Information Papers or TIPs that provide guidance and best practices for a broad range of topics, from operating equipment to training employees.

TAPPI’s Nano Division is just beginning to develop standards and TIPs for guiding researchers in working with these materials and understanding the differences between the types of cellulose nanomaterials available. Visit the Division’s webpage to learn more and join a committee.

Nanotechnology Standardization Resources

Staff Contacts

Heather Benko
Senior Manager, ANSI Nanotechnology Standardization Activities
American National Standards Institute
25 West 43 Street, 4 Floor, New York, NY 10036
Tel: 212.642.4912
Fax: 212.840.2298
hbenko@ansi.org

 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative