Project Details Analytical chemistry of nanomaterials -- critical evaluation

Project No.:
Start Date:
24 May 2017
End Date:


The impact of materials structured at the nanometer scale becomes enormous and continues to increase. Analytical chemistry of nanomaterials belongs to emerging issues in this field. Together with physical and physicochemical characterization of shape, size, and structure nanoparticles, analytical chemistry research considers isolation/purification and detection-identification/ quantification/ spatial composition characterization of nanomaterials in bulk materials, special nanotechnology products, complex matrices of environmental, biological and food samples, and others.

With respect to needs of technologies producing and utilizing nanomaterials, medical applications, as well as health, safety and environmental testing, a search for gap(s) and a critical evaluation of analytical potentialities of corresponding application-relevant analytical sampling and analysis methodologies, techniques and standardized protocols are the objectives of this project. (Use of nanomaterials in an improvement of analytical methods and tools is, however, out of scope of this project.) Among criteria applied to the critical evaluation of the methods will be a scope with respect to analytes, matrices and interferences, reliability, robustness, fulfillment on validation requirements, availability and use of reference materials, independent verification of the results, inter-laboratory studies, and others.


Nanomaterials of wide ranging chemistries and physical behaviour are routinely prepared and engineered and their unique and advantageous properties are frequently used in many areas of technology and daily life. The Uniform Description System for Materials on the Nanoscale has been introduced recently by CODATA that include characterization, production, specification, and general identifiers of nanomaterials (

These goals require special techniques and methodological approaches which include specificities of sampling and sample handling (including microextraction, fractionation by ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and dialysis, field-flow fractionation), differences in analysis of particulate and nanoparticulate assemblages compared to conventional analysis of solutes, and nanometrology (including reference materials, validation, measurement uncertainty evaluation as well as good laboratory practice).

Nanotechnology of engineered nanomaterials require from the analytical chemistry also a correlation between the surface chemistry and nanoparticles physical properties, interpretation of the results on a nanoscale, and identical information obtained by individual analytical techniques. At special applications, like contrast nanoagents for in-vivo bioimaging, mass spectrometry research for direct and simultaneous analysis of the spatial distribution of molecular species exhibited a large progress. In characterizing aerosols and environmental samples (waste waters, drinking waters, etc.) with nanoparticles in a mixture with chemical forms and colloids of metals, inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) mostly in combination with field-flow fractionation has proven to be a powerful technique. Separation techniques (hydrodynamic chromatography, capillary electrophoresis) coupled with spectroscopic and electrochemical methods, lab-on-chip technologies, bioanalytical approaches and others are developed and applied as well. (Bio)analytical methodologies for the nanomaterials potential risk assessment are also subject of great interest. New methods need critical comparison and evaluation.

Special aspects of this wide topic have been covered also by other IUPAC projects: “Recent advances in nanoparticles and colloidal systems and their impact on human health” (2013-007-1-700 by Gubala), “Chemical speciation of anthropogenic nanoparticles” (2014-026-3-600 by Obare) and “Safety of engineered nanomaterials” (2016-045-2-700).

The project will cover:
– Special workshop related the project and organized at its mid-term task group meeting
– Authors reports at analytical scientific conferences, meetings of national chemical societies, other workshops.

Users: Organizations, researchers and testing labs on the topics of analytical chemistry of engineered nanomaterials, environmental analytical chemistry, human health and food control, etc.


April 2020 update: A structure of the report is prepared and its draft (which follows the structure) is ready to about 40 %. The Task group chair with several members have summarized literature, relevant projects review, etc. A draft is expected before the GA 2021.

April 2021 update: A technical report draft is nearly completed with the help of new TG members. In the first part it covers analytical information regarding nanomaterials and nanoobjects, analytical scenarios, and metrological aspects – nanometrology. The second part deals with analytical methods, techniques and approaches in the chemical analysis of nanomaterials including sample preparation and analyses in complex matrices of food, cosmetics, samples of biological and environmental origin.

Page last updated 7 April 2021