Understanding the Toxicity of Nanoparticles

Physico-chemical characterization provide more information for our health and safety

Nanomaterials have become present in our daily life, they can be found in food, cosmetics, textiles, paints, electronic devices, etc. The Consumer Product Inventory (CPI) lists nearly 2,000 consumer products which contain such nanomaterials. Metallic and metal-oxide particles are the most abundant group (about 650 products) with silver, titanium, zinc and gold the most widely used materials.

The current trend in nanotechnology is the modification of materials so that they present specific desired properties for use in different industrial sectors and to serve different purposes. However, the same properties that make nanomaterials desirable in these various applications have the potential to alter biological properties, generating a new material, with potential unknown health risks for humans, the environment and our safety. Therefore, it is very important to develop instruments and methodologies for adequate physico-chemical characterization of nanomaterials.

The nanoparticle-scope (npSCOPE) is a research project funded by the European Commission H2020 bringing together nine partners with the aim of developing a new integrated, optimized instrument to provide a comprehensive physico-chemical characterization of nanoparticles – both in their original form and incorporated into complex matrices such as biological tissue.

Analytical capabilities provided by ZEISS

To improve nanoparticle characterization, a number of techniques are necessary. However until today, a multi-technique approach has been performed on separate instruments. The main objective of the project is to create a new integrated instrument.

As a partner in this project, ZEISS is providing high resolution helium ion microscopy technology for determining the chemical composition and particle size by offering GFIS (Gas Field Ion Source), Ion optical column, electronics control software and detectors.

More information on the project

More information on ZEISS Orion NanoFab

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