Carbon nanomaterials are expected to play an important role in future technological developments of transistors, photovoltaics, transparent thin film conductors, sensors, and fuel cell electrodes among many potential applications. However, the potential of these materials has been hindered by a lack of both standard protocols (i.e. documentary standards) for determining the quality and properties of a sample material, and physical standards (RMs), which allow for common inter-comparison of measurements and a baseline from which developments can be made.
To enable and promote the potential applications for carbon nanotubes NIST has released two types of single wall carbon nanotube reference materials. These are: SRM 2483, homogenous vials of single wall carbon nanotube soot released in 2011, and RM 8281, a set of different average length nanotube populations in aqueous dispersion. Outreach to industrial users (producers and consumers) and to academic investigators identified these materials as the primary, currently feasible, reference materials necessary to enable commerce of SWCNT materials.