IEST gains voice in nanotechnology


ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (, long active in helping to establish worldwide contamination-control standards for cleanrooms, will now have a voice on a newly created technical committee that will produce standards for emerging nanotechnology applications.

The IEST will represent the environmental sciences as a voting member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO Technical Committee 229 Nanotechnologies. Serving as delegate will be Dr. David Ensor, editor-in-chief of Aerosol Science and Technology. Dr. Ensor also serves as technical editor for the Journal of the IEST, and recently served as convenor of the ISO/TC 209 working group that produced ISO 14644-7: Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments-Part 7, Separative devices.

Pointing to the organization’s prominence in establishing contamination-control standards and guidelines, Dr. Ensor says, “IEST is in a unique position to contribute its expertise in developing international standards for controlled environments to anticipate the unique needs of the emerging nanotechnology industry.”

The new committee will develop standards for nanotechnology-based classification, terminology and nomenclature, basic metrology, calibration and certification, and environmental issues. Test methods will focus on physical, chemical, structural, and biological properties of materials or devices whose performance is critically dependent on one or more dimensions of less than 100 nanometers.

Senior IEST member and consultant Bud Firth, commenting on the IEST’s role in nanotechnology issues, says, “The environmental sciences will make key contributions to the success of nanotechnology. International standards for cleanliness of facilities, processes, and materials will require revision, and IEST has the opportunity to cooperate in defining and developing new standards for testing and control.”

Firth adds, “Nanotechnology applications will pose major challenges for the environmental sciences. Smaller instruments will be needed. Unit processes will require improved testing, documentation, and data storage and retrieval. Processes may need more sophisticated environmental chambers and equipment; R&D will demand more resources to establish criteria for environmental monitoring and controls.”

The TAG held its initial meeting last month to develop strategies for obtaining a U.S. leadership role on the ISO technical committee, and to appoint a delegation to attend the first committee meeting in the fall.

Meanwhile, nanotechnology will be one of three new working groups that will highlight the IEST’s fall conference, November 13-16 in suburban Chicago. Also new this year are working groups on recommended actions following disruption of cleanroom operations, and methods for cleaning equipment. Recommended practices will be discussed, developed and updated. More information on the fall conference can be found at the IEST Web site.


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