National Physical Laboratory



Nanomaterials are defined as materials composed of one or more engineered nano-components. A nano-component has at least one of its dimensions between 1nm and 100nm. These nano-components or their interactions are engineered to impart the unique properties of these materials. Examples include nanotubes, nanoparticles, nanostructured materials, and designer molecules.

The characterisation, analysis and application of nanomaterials make up one of the most exciting emerging fields of research. Much work still remains to be done so as to increase the knowledge and usability of these new materials. This has attracted both industrial and academic support, as the quality and range of nanomaterials research at NPL attests to.

NPL research on nanomaterials focuses in developing traceable methods to measure the structural properties of nanomaterials and the interactions and transport across boundaries in nanostructured materials.

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Nanomaterials research

  • Nanometrology is widely recognised as being the missing key part to be able to commercialise thermoelectric materials more widely.
  • Nanoparticles are exploited commercially, in the ink industry, pharmacuticals, and in materials.


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