ACEnano is an EU-funded project which aims at developing, optimising and validating methods for the detection and characterisation of nanomaterials (NMs) in increasingly complex matrices to improve confidence in the results and support their use in regulation. Within this project, several interlaboratory comparisons (ILCs) for the determination of particle size and concentration have been organised to benchmark existing analytical methods. In this paper the results of a number of these ILCs for the characterisation of NMs are presented and discussed. The results of the analyses of pristine well-defined particles such as 60 nm Au NMs in a simple aqueous suspension showed that laboratories are well capable of determining the sizes of these particles. The analysis of particles in complex matrices or formulations such as consumer products resulted in larger variations in particle sizes within technologies and clear differences in capability between techniques. Sunscreen lotion sample analysis by laboratories using spICP-MS and TEM/SEM identified and confirmed the TiO2 particles as being nanoscale and compliant with the EU definition of an NM for regulatory purposes. In a toothpaste sample orthogonal results by PTA, spICP-MS and TEM/SEM agreed and stated the TiO2 particles as not fitting the EU definition of an NM. In general, from the results of these ILCs we conclude that laboratories are well capable of determining particle sizes of NM, even in fairly complex formulations.
- Interlaboratory comparison