DIN-Workshop on nanotechnology standardization

On 3 May 2011 DIN hosted the workshop "Nanotechnology standardization – Current status and current challenges". Moderated by Prof. Dr. Georg Reiners of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), the workshop met with great interest.

DIN Vice President Prof. Dr. Manfred Hennecke (also from the BAM) made the workshop's central aim clear from the start: "We need your help!", he appealed to the 88 participants. While other countries are strategically active in nanotechnology standardization within ISO, German scientists and business representatives have shown little interest up to now.

In his presentation on "Business success thanks to nanotechnology standardization", Prof. Knut Blind (Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems - FOKUS) spoke of the benefits of standardization for the nanotechnology industry. According to him, standards are more important than patents as sources of knowledge for innovative companies. "The industry must take greater part in nanotechnology standardization", urged Blind.

Dr. Steffi Friedrichs (NIA Nanotechnologies Industries Association) elucidated the connection between nanotechnology, standardization and regulation in her speech "Nanotechnology standardization in international nanotechnology industries".

Dr. Stefan Engel (BASF) presented "Current results of nanotechnology standardization" carried out in the committees ISO/TC 229 "Nanotechnologies", CEN/TC 352 "Nanotechnologies" and DIN's NA 062-08-17 AA "Nanotechnologien". He described the cooperation among the three committees and the health and environmental aspects of the European Commission's mandate for standardization activities on nanotechnology. This mandate, which led to the initiation of 37 standards projects, will have great influence on standards work at national and European level due to its significance for the European economic area.

Dr. Norbert Fabricius (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)) discussed international and national nanotechnology standardization in the electrotechnology sector. According to Dr. Fabricius nanotechnology standards are needed on terminology, measurands, process and quality control, tools and equipment, risk management and material specifications.

In his speech "Nanotechnology standardization: Representing the interests of German industry " Dr. Matthias Voetz (Bayer Technology Services) illustrated with lively examples from his own experience just how important it is for industrial companies to actively participate in standards committees in order to protect their own economic interests. A particularly good example was Technical Report 27628, which gives a good overview of the subject of aerosol. Nanotechnology standardization is essential so that "everyone knows what they are talking about, copycats can be avoided, you get what you asked for, and measurement results are more comparable" From Dr. Voetz' point of view, the standardization of toxicological test methods and exotic analytical methods is not desirable.

The final presentation by MinR Dr. Herbert Zeisel (Federal Ministry of Education and Research - BMBF), "The significance of standardization activities from the point of view of the BMBF", introduced the research projects being supported by the Ministry and illustrated possible connections with nanotechnology standardization.

During the afternoon four parallel workshops in different sectors (chemicals/textiles, foodstuffs/cosmetics, medicine/electronics/optics/metrology and testing, and mechanical engineering/transportation/energy) were held, followed by a joint discussion of current standardization needs. Throughout the discussions it became clear that there is a general need for uniform characterization methods and report forms. A project on printed batteries was also initiated.