In the framework of the European H2020 project npSCOPE, an instrument that couples the extraordinarily high resolution of the recently commercialised helium-ion microscope with sensors for composition (a mass spectrometer) and 3D visualisation (transmitted ion detector) will be developed. The aim is to more fully characterise individual nanoparticles and their interaction with their biological environments (water, soil, body fluid, human cells and tissue, etc.) and to better understand the risks they might pose to human health or the environment.
The new integrated microscopy tool advanced from existing technologies and adapted specifically for the purpose of providing quick and concise analyses of nanoparticular material that can even be embedded in complex and biological matrices aims to provide a more efficient, comprehensive and accurate data in one to nanoparticle toxicology studies.
The development of the npSCOPE, will not only reinforce the leading position of Europe in the field of nanotechnology and in the field of advanced instrumentation, but also aims to:
- Allow an increased confidence in the determination of physico-chemical features, providing more reliable and consistent data for safety evaluation of nanomaterials. As well as quality control.
- Reduce costs and optimize time related to physico-chemical characterisation of nanomaterials, being a more accessible instrument than traditional approaches.
- Seek synergies in other areas such as quality control, product traceability, labelling and counterfeiting. For example, raising quality control in nanomedicine or detecting counterfeiting on cosmetic products.