15 Jun 2022 Publications

Nano Method-Decision Tool developed within ACEnano project

A Simple Guide for SMEs about the Nano Method-Decision Tool:
A tool with unique features connected to the ACEnano Knowledge Warehouse

Project Deliverable by BNN
Project: ACEnano, Grant Agreement No. 720952 (Topic “NMBP-26-2016 Analytical techniques and tools in support of nanomaterial risk assessment”)
Date of publication: 30 June 2021
Area: Innovation Support
BNN team involvement: Johanna K. Scheper


Within the framework of the European Project ACEnano – “Analytical and Characterisation Excellence in nanomaterial risk assessment: A tiered approach” BNN published the Deliverable 5.8 “A Simple Guide for SMEs about the Nano Method-Decision Tool: a tool with unique features connected to the ACEnano Knowledge Warehouse”. The guideline describes the use and applicability of the tool and guides the user through its features, which could be of great benefit to SMEs using nanomaterials.

The Nano Method-Decision Tool, or Decision Tree, is designed to guide users through a catalogue of dedicated questions with the aim to eventually provide a list of appropriate analytical techniques for the characterisation of their specific nanomaterial.


The user of the Nano Method-Decision Tool has three categories available that can be of interest, depending on the purpose of the characterisation required for the specific nanomaterial. For these categories a set of parameters has to be defined.
These are:

  1. Regulation: Different descriptors of the nanomaterial under evaluation may need to be determined. The descriptors are: i) size & size distribution, ii) shape (aspect ratio), iii) surface functionalisation and iv) surface area.
  2. Risk Assessment: Different descriptors of a given nanomaterial may need to be evaluated in order to have the relevant information about the risk of the nanomaterial under consideration. These parameters are: i) solubility, ii) shape (aspect ratio), iii) surface reactivity, iv) surface area, v) size & size distribution, vi) agglomeration, vii) surface coating and viii) surface charge.
  3. Labelling: Depending on the matrix in which the nanomaterial is embedded, the user can choose among: i) cosmetics, ii) biocides and iii) food.

By selecting any of these categories and specific parameters or descriptors that the user wishes to determine, the tool automatically displays a list of questions that, once answered, essentially provide a description of the material properties. This description allows the tool to recommend only those techniques (or only one single technique) from an initial list of “potential techniques” that are suitable to determine the desired descriptors or parameters of the nanomaterial.


ACEnano Knowledge Warehouse

The Nano Method-Decision Tool is interlinked with the ACEnano Knowledge Warehouse, a publicly accessible data infrastructure, developed within the ACEnano project, for finding state-of-the-art information related to nanomaterials research and characterisation. Furthermore, the ACEnano Knowledge Warehouse stores and shares data and protocols created by specialised laboratories and companies that are part of the ACEnano project.


The ACEnano Knowledge Infrastructure supports all activities related to data collection.


Why is the targeted characterization of a nanomaterial important?

Nanomaterials are a growing class of materials for which interest is increasing rapidly due to their unique size-related properties relevant to a range of novel applications, from textiles to sport devices, nano-pharmaceutical products, nano-medical devices, cosmetics, biocides or even toys. A thorough characterization of NMs regarding their behaviour, such as interactions with biological and environmental systems, safety and legal issues, is essential for establishing effective product quality control measures, as well as for regulatory purposes that any new product needs to undergo and comply with, on its way to market.

The development of the Nano Method-Decision Tool is based on a previous existing tool named the NanoDefiner e-tool. Access the Nano Method-Decision Tool via http://www.acenano-project.eu/acenano-toolbox.

For more information, read our project deliverable “A Simple Guide for SMEs about the Nano Method-Decision Tool: a tool with unique features connected to the ACEnano Knowledge Warehouse”.

Read Deliverable