Smallest Reference Material

Smallest Reference Material


Reference Material (RM) 8027 was issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as the smallest known reference material ever created for validating measurements of man-made, ultrafine particles between 1 and 100 nm. RM 8027 consists of five hermetically sealed ampoules containing 1 mL of silicon nanoparticles suspended in toluene. They are all certified to be close to 2 nm in diameter.

To yield RM 8027, the nanocrystals are etched from a silicon wafer, separated using ultrasound, and stabilized within an organic shell. Particle size and chemical composition are determined by dynamic light scattering, analytical centrifugation, electron microscopy, and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

The NIST is a measurement standards laboratory; between 1901 and 1988 it was known as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). It supplies industry, academia, government, and other users with Standard Reference Materials (SRMs). These artifacts are certified to have specific characteristics or component content to be used as calibration standards for measuring equipment and procedures, quality control benchmarks for industrial processes, and experimental control samples.


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