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Nanotechnology Data Exchange

A new ASTM International standard will facilitate the meaningful submission and exchange of nanomaterial descriptions and characterization data, along with other files, among individual nanotechnology researchers.

E2909, Guide for Investigation/Study/Assay Tab-Delimited Format for Nanotechnologies (ISA-TAB-Nano): Standard File Format for the Submission and Exchange of Data on Nanomaterials and Characterizations, was developed by Subcommittee E56.01 on Informatics and Technology, part of ASTM International Committee E56 on Nanotechnology.

“This standard is a simple way to share data related to nanotechnology,” says Nathan Baker, a national laboratory fellow, and chair, E56.01. “No such standard existed before this, so it fills an important gap in the nanotechnology research area.”

Baker notes that there are several barriers to data sharing in the nanosciences. “One of these is the lack of standard formats for exchanging data — between scientists, to and from databases, and as supplementary information for journal publications,” says Baker. “E2909 addresses the need for a standard format for data sharing.”

It is hoped that E2909 will empower organizations to adopt standard methods for presenting data in nanotechnology publications as well as to provide researchers with guidelines for representing nanomaterials and characterizations to achieve cross-material comparison. The guide is presented as a file structure that contains four primary files — investigation, study, assay and material files.

Appendixes in the standard provide a detailed overview of the structure of each ISA-TAB-Nano file, along with example data. In addition, detailed ISA-TAB-Nano background is presented.

Research scientists, both producers of nanotechnology data and those who analyze it, will be the primary users of E2909. In addition, regulatory bodies will be able to use the standard when assessing the safety or performance of products.

Baker says the subcommittee welcomes all parties interested in future revisions to E2909. E56.01 would particularly like participation from nanoscience researchers, regulatory decision makers and data scientists.

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CONTACT Technical Information: Nathan Baker, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory • Richland, Wash. • Phone: 509-375-3997 | ASTM Staff: Kathleen McClung • Phone: 610-832-9717 | Upcoming Meeting: Nov. 11-12 • November Committee Week • Jacksonville, Fla.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.