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New Standard is First to Offer Common Vocabulary for Nanotechnology

New York, Dec 12, 2006

ASTM International’s Committee E56 has recently published the first known consensus-based standard defining a common technical language for the rapidly developing field of nanotechnology. The issuance of ASTM E2456-06, Standard Terminology Relating to Nanotechnology, has the agreement of a broad range of experts and provides precisely defined vocabulary for the burgeoning nanotechnology industry.

The standard establishes terminology for such fundamental terms as nano-, nanotechnology, nanoscale and nanoparticle. In addition to providing a specific, shared vocabulary among scientists, an agreed-upon terminology also helps to foster a common understanding among consumers as nano products enter the marketplace.

Nanotechnology cuts across many disciplines, from applied physics and biology to chemistry and colloidal science, and is expected to usher significant advancements in medicine, information technology, energy, and other areas. A common and widely-accepted terminology with which researchers and developers can communicate the diverse needs of nanotechnology is essential to supporting this rapidly advancing field.

The new standard falls under the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee E56 on nanotechnology and its Subcommittee E56.01, terminology and nomenclature. ASTM itself is an ANSI member, an ANSI-accredited standards developer and audited designator, and a member of the ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel (ANSI-NSP). Formed in 2004, the ANSI-NSP is a cross-sector group established to coordinate the development of voluntary consensus standards for nanotechnology applications.

A number of members on the E56 committee also sit on the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 229 on nanotechnologies, a group charged with advancing international standards in the nanotechnology field. Among the committee’s leading initiatives in this arena are efforts to develop ISO standards for terminology, measurement and characterization of nanomaterials, as well as environmental, health and safety standards necessary to ensure the safe use of nanotechnology applications. For more information about the US TAG contact Heather Benko, TAG Administrator (

The E2456 standard is available for download free of charge from the ANSI eStandards Store and from the ASTM website.