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Challenges and approaches for particle size analysis on micrographs of nanoparticles loaded onto textile surfaces



Samuel J. Underwood, Justin Gorham


This NIST Special Publication (SP) is one in a series of NIST SPs that address research needs articulated in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Strategy published in 2011[1]. This Strategy identified a Nanomaterial Measurement Infrastructure (NMI) as essential for science-based risk assessment and risk management of nanotechnology-enabled products as pertaining to human health, exposure, and the environment. NIST was identified as the lead federal agency in the NMI core research area of the Strategy. This research area includes development of measurement tools for the detection and characterization of engineered nanomaterials in nanotechnology-enabled products. Textiles containing silver nanoparticles are consumer products of great interest for nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety (nano-EHS) research and for product regulation. Detection and characterization of these nanomaterials is a focus of this SP The protocol in this SP describes challenges and solutions for acquiring and analyzing microscope images of nanoparticles to give particle size distributions. An example methodology is also proposed which is designed to be high throughput and internally consistent while minimizing the number of subjective choices. While this protocol was developed with the AgNP- loaded textile system in mind, the strategies described herein could be applied to particles of any size, and the required micrographs could be gathered via SEM, TEM, light microscopy, or myriad other techniques
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1200-22
Report Number


electron microscopy, size analysis, nanomaterials, nanoscale, ImageJ, nanoparticles, textiles, consumer products


Underwood, S. and Gorham, J. (2017), Challenges and approaches for particle size analysis on micrographs of nanoparticles loaded onto textile surfaces, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed May 20, 2024)


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Created May 30, 2017, Updated October 14, 2021