ARC Nanotechnology Network
National Measurement Institute Nanometrology

National Measurement Institute Nanometrology

Name of Group Leader:

Jan Herrmann  

Physical Address:

36 Bradfield Road,
West Lindfield
NSW 2070  

Mailing Address:

PO Box 264
NSW 2070


+61 2 8467 3784  


+61 2 8467 3752  


Nanotechnology Research Programs/Activities:

The National Measurement Institute (NMI) develops, maintains and delivers the measurement infrastructure, expertise, standards and services Australia requires. As part of those activities, NMI’s Nanometrology Section provides measurement standards and services for nanotechnology to assist Australian researchers and industries to capitalise on growth and commercialisation opportunities, and contribute to effective health, safety and environmental regulation for nanotechnologies.

The development and use of nanotechnologies by Australian industry is increasing, and more and more nano-enabled products are entering the market. Accurate length measurements at the nanoscale are critical for underpinning the development, use, and regulation of these products. The nanometrology standards and services provided by NMI link accurate nanoscale measurements traceable to the SI meter to real-world applications in research, manufacturing, trade and regulation so that Australian researchers, industry, regulators and consumers can have confidence when making decisions on nanotechnology.

We have established state-of-the-art facilities with a wide range of instrumentation for the characterisation of nanomaterials. Coupled with our staff’s expertise, these facilities provide a range of nanometrology services that are unique in Australia.

Our research activities are aimed at the development of new standards, measurement techniques and calibration services for nanostructures and nanomaterials. This includes the investigation and comparison of accuracies, limitations and measurement uncertainties of nanoscale measuring instruments and methods. Some of our current research and development activities include:
• Development of a metrological atomic force microscope as Australia's reference standard for nanoscale dimensional measurements, traceable to NMI's internationally recognised primary length standards;
• optimisation of data processing and analysis to improve resolving power and accuracy of dynamic light scattering measurements for polydisperse nanoparticle suspensions;
• development of methods to characterise sizes and size distributions of nanoparticles in application-relevant matrices such as sunscreens and wastewater;

NMI actively participates in the development of documentary standards for nanotechnologies at both the national and international level. Group members contribute to the work of Standards Australia’s Technical Committee NT-001 (Nanotechnologies) and are represented in the Australian delegation to the International Organization for Standardization’s Technical Committee TC 229 (Nanotechnologies). We also support pre-normative research through membership in the Steering Committee of the Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards (VAMAS). This work helps to ensure that developments in Australia and overseas remained aligned, to the benefit of researchers, industry and regulatory bodies, and through them all Australians.

NMI’s nanometrology team works in close collaboration with other NMI colleagues, and with external collaborators and clients, to deliver fit-for-purpose, multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary measurement solutions. We are happy to discuss specific nano-measurement needs and issues and welcome suggestions for research collaborations and enquiries for student placements.

Scale of Nanotechnology Research Effort:

5 research scientists  

Nanotechnology research facilities:

• Metrological scanning probe microscope (developed at NMI)
• Atomic force microscope (Asylum Research MFP-3D)
• Optical microscopes (Leica DM6000, Leica DFC490)
• Dynamic image analysis (Ambivalue Eyetech Combi)
• Through collaboration with national research infrastructure networks and local universities and research organisations we have access to state-of-the-art electron microscopy facilities for the characterisation of nanostructures.
Particle Size Measurement
• Laser diffraction (Malvern Mastersizer 3000)
• Microchannel resonator (Affinity Biosensors Archimedes Particle Metrology System)
• Differential centrifugal sedimentation (CPS DC24000UHR)
• Dynamic light scattering (Malvern Zetasizer Nano ZS)
• Particle tracking analysis (NanoSight LM10/LM14)
• Laser obscuration (Ambivalue Eyetech Combi)
• Electrical zone sensing (iZON qNano)
• Asymmetric flow field flow fractionation (Wyatt Eclipse3+ with Wyatt Dawn Helios 2 MALS and QELS detectors; Agilent 1200 series diode array UV-Vis detector)
• Sedimentation field flow fractionation (Postnova CF2000 with Agilent diode array UV-Vis detector)
• Sedimentation analysis (Micromeritics Sedigraph 5120)
Surface Area Measurement
• Gas adsorption for surface area and micropore analysis (Quantachrome Autosorb iQ2)
• Particle surface area in aqueous suspension (Xigo Tools Acorn Area)
Surface Charge Measurement
• Charge titration – streaming current potential measurement (Particle Metrix Stabisizer)
• Electrophoretic mobility measurement – laser Doppler velocimetry (Malvern Zetasizer Nano ZS)
• Electrophoretic mobility measurement – particle tracking analysis (Particle Metrix ZetaView)
Chemical Characterisation
• Thermo-gravimetric analysis (PerkinElmer STA 6000 TGA/DSC)
• Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (PerkinElmer Frontier MIR FT-IR and Spectrum 10) with heated transfer line for characterisation of evolved gasses from the thermo-gravimetric analysis system
• Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (Agilent 7500)
• Precision electroform sieves with electromagnetic actuation and ultrasonic processor (Topas EMS 755 with Topas UDS 751)
• Sonic sifter separator stack (Advantech)
Other Measurements
• Viscosity (A&D Vibro Viscometer)
• Refractive index (Schmidt and Haensch digital multi-wavelength refractometer)
• Density (Micromeritics Accupyc 1340 gas pycnometer)
Materials Processing
• Laboratory centrifuge with swinging buckets (SIGMA)
• Bench top centrifuge (Eppendorf minispin)
• Rotary sample divider (Fritsch)
• Rotary micro riffler (Quantachrome)
• High-intensity ultrasonic processor with various probes and horns (Misonix S-4000 U)
• Ultrasonic bath (Cole-Palmer)
• Cytotoxic cabinet
• Laminar flow bench
• Fume hood
Reference materials
• Step height
• Pitch length
• Particle diameter (polystyrene latex, gold, silicon dioxide; in liquid suspension)
• Zeta potential
• Surface area




Collaboration Information


Group Websites: