NIST: Protocols for Measurement and Dispersion of Nanoparticles

NIST News:

This series of NIST Special Publications (SPs) consists of protocols developed by NIST researchers in conjunction with external collaborators, such as Duke University’s Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT) and the National Cancer Institute’s Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL).

In many cases, the original version of these protocols was posted on external collaborator web sites; all previous versions are superseded by these SP versions.

Updates to the SP version of the protocols may be released in the future. Check this page to see when revisions of these protocols are made available or when new protocols are posted.

NIST and its collaborating organizations value user comments and suggestions to improve or further validate the protocols.

Submit feedback or comments to, noting which protocol you are referring to.


Toxicity and fate assessment are key elements in the evaluation of the environmental, health and safety risks of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs).

While significant effort and resources have been devoted to the toxicological evaluation of many ENMs, obtaining conclusive and reproducible results continues to challenge the research and regulatory communities.

This can be traced in part to the lack of standardized dispersion protocols and the inconsistent application of dispersion procedures in relevant biological and environmental matrices.

In order to help address these issues, NIST, in collaboration with external partners such as CEINT and NCL, have developed and validated a series of protocols aimed at standardizing the preparation of ENM dispersions in different media and the characterization of such preparations.

Additional protocols in this series may address related issues, including application of in vitro assays.