Dossier Nanotechnology

Tiny nanoparticles are increasingly present in many products. BAM scrutinizes whether nanoparticles are really non-hazardous for people and the environment.

Source: BAM

Nanotechnology is a key technology of the 21st century, closely related to the German Government's High-Tech Strategy 2020. Germany is one of the leading locations for nanotechnology on the international stage.

For a responsible approach to handling nano

Nanotechnology is now indispensable to many areas of daily life. Nanoparticles are used, for example, in paints and varnishes, packaging, food, textiles, and cosmetics. But nanotechnology also plays a significant role in the development of new materials, substances and components. BAM's focus is on safety and reliability in the use of nanomaterials.

Assessing the risks and benefits of nano

As a crossover technology, nano brings together quantum physics, material sciences, information technology, chemistry, and biology, amongst others. The subject is broad, and the topics BAM is working on are equally varied. Projects cover subjects such as questions of material sciences, the development of measuring and testing processes, chemical nanoanalytics, or nano-scale reference materials. This includes, for example, BAM's own software developed for the analysis of nano-materials.

Focus on safety

Many of BAM's analytical research and development projects involve the investigation of nanomaterials. At the same time, we are researching a multitude of practical applications. Whether it concerns improving the flame retardant qualities of plastics, or making the bodywork parts of cars and aircraft safer, BAM's basic research is making an important contribution to the safety of nanotechnology. In addition, BAM is involved in developing and defining European and international standards, and supports various interest groups to be better able to gauge the safety and risks of products containing nanomaterials.

According to this, BAM and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) as well as the German EnvironmentAgency (UBA) have extended their joint nanotechnology research strategy up to 2020. The goal is to provide a safe and compatible use for innovative nanomaterials over their entire life cycle; from material development through production, processing and use to recycling or disposal.

The departmental research institutes’ joint research strategy is part of the 2020 Nanotechnology Action Plan of the German Federal Government adopted in autumn 2016. In addition to fostering the utilization of nanotechnology developments it focuses on ensuring safe and environmentally sustainable applications to strengthen the international competitiveness of Germany.