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Nanomaterials UDS: History and Workshops

Nanomaterials UDS: History and Workshops

The CODATA-VAMAS Working Group (WG) on Nanomaterials was established following a 2012 workshop held in Paris co-sponsored by CODATA and the International Council for Science (ICSU). To have broad input from the many diverse disciplines involved with nanomaterials, as well as international representation, the WG engaged a large number of international scientific unions who named representatives who participated in one or more workshops and review of documents as they were produced. A list of Unions who participated is given below. The WG also included active members of standards development organizations (SDOs) concerned with nanotechnology, such as ISO TC220, IEC TC 113, and ASTM E56. It is important to note that participation by these unions and SDOs does not constitute endorsement of the UDS.

International Unions Participating in the CODATA-VAMAS WG on Nanomaterials


International Scientific Union


Pure and Applied Chemistry

Materials Science

Materials Research Societies


Food Science and Technology


Nutritional Sciences


Pure and Applied Physics




Biological Sciences

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology




Microbiological Societies

Sciences in Support of Medicine

Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine


Basic and Clinical Pharmacology

Physiological Sciences

Physiological Sciences



Environmental Science and Ecology

Conservation of Nature

Following its work plan, the WG first performed a survey of requirements for a description system. Over 40 responses were received that provided important insights into potential uses for a Uniform Description System for Nanomaterials (UDSnano).

The next step in developing a UDSnano was to establish a Framework that defines the major type of information required to describe a nanomaterial uniquely and accurately. That initial Framework was reviewed by the Working Group at a second workshop was held in Paris in May 2013. This Framework has defined critical categories of information that are used to describe nanomaterials. Many categories, such as crystallography and chemical structure, have groups already dedicated to developing a detailed list of descriptors. Other categories, such as surface characterization and topology, need to be worked on by appropriate groups of experts. In addition, different disciplines will eventually need to ensure that their specialized needs are being met.

To develop a complete UDS from the final Framework, the CODATA-VAMAS Working Group held a series of three international workshops that carefully review the Framework from a multi-disciplinary point of view. New information categories were added, and detailed subcategories were defined. The result is the present Version 1.0 of the Uniform Description System. The Workshops were:

  • North America (held in RTI, North Carolina) April 2014
  • Europe (held at CODATA Headquarters, Paris France) April 2014
  • Asia (held at the Chinese National Center for Nanoscience, Beijing China) September 2014