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The National Measurement Institute’s (NMI’s) nanometrology client services specialise in accurate nanoscale dimensional measurement, atomic force microscopy and physico-chemical characteristics of nanomaterials.

As the peak body for measurement, we’re responsible for developing, maintaining and disseminating Australia’s physical national standards. This helps ensure nanoscale measurements made in Australia are traceable to the international system of units (SI) for length (metre). Our Lindfield nanometrology laboratory:

  • conducts nanoscale dimensional measurements, traceable to the SI definition of the metre
  • analyses the physico-chemical characteristics of nanomaterials
  • provides access to our nanometrology measurement facilities for clients, collaborators and students 
  • calibrates and validates nanoscale measurement standards
  • contracts research and development
  • consults on nanoscale measurement methodology, instrumentation and reference materials
  • designs, develops and delivers training in nanoscale measurement

Nanoscale length and dimensional measurements

We perform nanoscale length and dimensional measurements on clients’ samples. Our measurements are traceable to the international standards (SI) for length (the metre). Our nanometrologists can perform:

  • atomic force microscopy, for length and dimensional measurements (including calibration of artefacts for pitch (x/y)and step height (z))
  • particle size and size distribution measurements
  • surface roughness determinations

Nanoscale measurements, analysis and processing

Our laboratory’s core services for clients are nanoscale measurements and analysis. As the peak body, we have a duty to support industry by providing our specialised services. We help clients ensure their measurements are as accurate as possible, for commercial, legal, health, safety, or environmental reasons.

Our physicists and engineers are leaders in nanometrology. From our Lindfield laboratory we support clients across Australia, from a wide range of sectors. This includes clients from universities, government and industry. We have a particular focus on providing nanometrology services to the manufacturing food, health and environmental sectors.

We work closely with other NMI laboratories to deliver nanoscale characteristic services for clients. This includes collaborating with the length and dimensional, chemical and environmental laboratories.

Nanometrology capabilities

Our nanometrology measurement services are accurate and reliable, and accepted internationally. This facilitates global trade in Australian nanotechnologies, helping our industries grow and compete.

For more information about our capabilities for specific nanoscale tests and instruments, see our list of nanometrology equipment.

Nanometrology services for industry sectors

We comply with documentary standards for nanomaterials, published by Standards Australia (AS) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

We detect, characterise and quantify nanomaterials and nanoparticles in:

  • food, and in food contact materials such as packaging
  • nanomedicine, such as biocompatible nanoparticles in pharmaceuticals
  • the environment, including analysing nanoparticles in air and water samples
  • consumer products, particularly engineered nanoparticles in textiles, surface coatings and personal-care products

Physical and chemical nanomaterial analysis and processing

We determine the physico-chemical characteristics of nanomaterials for our clients. We supplement our nano-scale characterisation facilities with sample and material processing equipment. This includes a high-intensity ultrasonic processing system, sample dividers/rifflers and centrifuges. Our nanometrologists can perform:

  • atomic force microscopy
  • dynamic light scattering
  • particle tracking analysis
  • static light scattering (laser diffraction) differential centrifugal sedimentation
  • electrophoretic mobility (zeta potential)
  • asymmetric flow field-flow fractionation
  • sedimentation field-flow fractionation
  • resonant mass measurement
  • tunable resistive pulse sensing
  • fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy analysis
  • dynamic image analysis
  • gravitational sedimentation analysis
  • streaming current potential
  • electron and optical microscopy 

Nanometrology calibration and testing

We calibrate nanoscale dimensional artefacts with our metrological scanning probe microscope. This is Australia’s primary standard for nanoscale dimensional measurement and directly linked to the realisation of the SI metre. 

Our system uses five traceable laser interferometers to measure the motion of a sample surface, relative to a fixed sensor. We use the resulting image to measure the distance between features on the sample surface with nanometre accuracy. This transforms them into traceable ‘nano-rulers’.

Measurements made with this instrument provide results traceable to the national standards. This means the results provide traceability to international standard units (SI), maintained by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM).

Typical calibration and testing turnaround times

We liaise with clients to meet their schedule requirements wherever possible, including urgent requirements. Our timeframes depend on the volume of work we have at the time, and the instrument’s complexity or size.

  • 1 day to 2 months from booking to issue of the report
  • 1 to 2 weeks for facility hire access following initial consultation.

Nanometrology facility hire

We can provide clients with access to our state-of-the-art nanometrology facilities combined with expert support. This service suits researchers who need access to highly specialised equipment and expertise for their own projects. This includes researchers from:

  • universities, such as faculty researchers, students and PhD candidates
  • device or nanomaterial manufacturers, including product developers
  • medical and pharmaceutical sectors, including those involved nano-medicine
  • industry, such as environmental scientists and engineers in the resources sector

All clients must complete our laboratory induction before using our facility. This is for workplace health and safety, and to safeguard our specialised equipment from incorrect use.

Contract research and development in nanometrology and nanomaterials

We offer clients from various sectors a contract research and development service. Our specialised nanometrology scientists and engineers can design and deliver measurement services to support research projects or product development. This helps researchers from industry capitalise on growth and commercialisation opportunities in Australia and abroad. It helps protect the health and safety of our community and the environment. It also informs our research to develop the national standards.

Key areas of nanometrology contract research and development we focus on are:

  • nanomaterials for advanced manufacturing
  • nanomedicines, nanotherapeutics and personal care products
  • nanoparticle environmental analysis in water
  • identifying and measuring nanoscale materials in food

We offer internships and post-graduate co-supervision in our nanometrology laboratory. This is for Australian and international students researching nanotechnologies, nanoparticles, nanomaterials and nanometrology. 

Business-research collaborations

We welcome collaborative research and development partnerships. The government provides industry with assistance and support to undertake research. Business-research collaboration allows us to work together to come up with innovative ideas and solutions that benefit both parties.

Nanotechnology-related research grants, funding and incentives

The government supports nanotechnology-related research through the Cooperative Research Centres Program (CRC) and the Industry Growth Centres Initiative.

Consultancy services

We work with clients to understand their unique nanometrology measurement issues, or opportunities, and provide:

  • nanometrology method development
  • contract research and development for short-term or long-term projects
  • advice on problems relating to nanometrology
  • advice on measurement equipment and techniques
  • technical advice on instrument calibration or precision measurement issues
  • consultancy for testing, research and benchmark studies
  • advice for product development, measurement integrity and quality assurance
  • investigation, comparison and development of nanoscale measurement instrumentation and methodology
  • development of methods to characterise sizes and size distributions of nanoparticles in relevant matrices such as sunscreens, wastewater and cell culture media

Customised training

We design and deliver bespoke training programs for clients. This is separate to our established training and assessment programs. Our bespoke training programs can involve training individuals or teams to:

  • use customised or purpose-built nanometrology instruments
  • apply nanoparticle and nanoscale techniques and terminology
  • understand traceability and measurement uncertainty

Indicative nanometrology rates and fees

We offer premium nanometrology client services. Our costs reflect the time, detail and depth of the service we provide. This suits clients who have a regulatory or ethical responsibility to have the highest accuracy possible. It also suits clients with legal or commercial motivations.

We aim to keep costs as low as possible for our clients. This is because we have an obligation to support Australian industry, innovation and science through our client services. This means we operate on a mixed pricing model, with partial cost-recovery.

We customise our quotations to meet each client’s needs. For a quotation email nano@measurement.gov.au or phone +61 2 8467 3820.

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Contact us

  • Email nano@measurement.gov.au
  • Phone +61 2 8467 3820
  • Write to us: National Measurement Institute, GPO Box 2013, Canberra ACT 2601

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Last updated: 5 June 2019

Content ID: 64588