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New International Specification Helps to Name Nano-Objects

New York, Oct 01, 2008

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published its first technical specification (TS) to support the ever increasing array of industry sectors that are embracing the development of materials at the nanoscale.

ISO/TS 27687, Nanotechnologies – Terminology and definitions for nano-objects – Nanoparticle, nanofibre and nanoplate is intended to be the first in a series of guidance documents related to terminology and definitions covering the different aspects of nanotechnologies. It provides information on objects at the nanoscale, including three basic shapes: nanoparticles, nanofibers, and nanoplates.

With clearly defined words and phrases for nano-objects, the specification will ease communications among individuals and organizations in the industry.

ISO/TS 27687 was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 229, Nanotechnologies. Initiated in 2005, TC 229 is divided into four Working Groups (WGs); WG 1, Terminology and Nomenclature led the development of this specification.

“This document represents an initial – but very important – step in developing definitions for some of the terms essential for a vocabulary to enable effective communications in the research, commercial, legal, and oversight aspects of nanotechnology,” said Clayton Teague, director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, Executive Office to the President of the United States, and chair of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC 229. “It also represents the culmination of many months of collegial effort by representatives from 15 or so countries.”

Across the board, the United States participates actively in the work of ISO TC 229 and its WGs, including WG 3, Health, safety, and environment, which is under U.S. leadership. National input is developed by the U.S. TAG ISO TC 229, a group that is accredited and administered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

To help stakeholders from industry, government, academia, and the standardization community better understand the work that is currently underway within ISO TC 229, ANSI recently authored a series of articles in the Nanotechnology Law Report. These articles are available on ANSI’s Published Articles page.

Five articles are currently available:

For more information on ISO/TS 27687, see the ISO news release. To learn more about the U.S. TAG for ISO/TC 229, visit or contact Heather Benko (