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Reference Materials

NIST supports accurate and comparable measurements by providing an ever increasing portfolio of reference materials including NIST Standard Reference Materials®, NIST Reference Materials and NIST Research Grade Test Materials.  All NIST reference materials are either certified or qualified for fit-for-purpose, homogeneity and stability.

 A 3 wide by 2 tall grid of six rectangles, each with a decorative illustration, describing the categories of NIST reference materials prepared by the Biosystems and Biomaterials Division.  First row, right to left, Genome in a Bottle, Protein Based Reagents/Kits, Vector Copy Number materials, Genetically Tagged Yeast Strain, Microbial Whole Cells and DNA, and Matched Cancer–Normal Cells, DNA and engineered cells.
Categories of NIST Reference Materials prepared by the Biosystems and Biomaterials Division.

NIST Reference Materials

  • NIST Standard Reference Materials® (NIST SRMs®) are certified reference materials according to ISO 17034:2016 that also have metrological traceability to the SI or another higher-order reference system.  NIST SRMs® are issued with a certificate of analysis that reports the intended use, the certified values, and results of additional characterization.
  • NIST Reference Materials (NIST RMs) are reference materials according to ISO 17034:2016 that are issued with a Reference Material Information Sheet (RMIS) and are provided by NIST to generally further measurements and/or scientific or technical research.
  • NIST Research Grade Test Materials (NIST RGTM) are materials used during the prototyping and development phases of reference material development.  RGTMs are typically distributed in NIST-sponsored interlaboratory comparisons.  RGTMs are prepared to be homogeneous and stable, but RGTMs have not been quantitatively evaluated for all properties of potential interest.

Please refer to the NIST Office of Reference Materials and/or NIST Special Publication 260-136:2021 for more information on NIST reference materials.

Click here for a listing of reference materials.  NIST Reference Materials are available online at

Created May 1, 2024, Updated May 5, 2024