Nanotechnology has the potential to revolutionise our futures, but has also prompted concerns about the possibility that nanomaterials may harm humans or the biosphere. The unique properties of nanoparticles, that give them novel size dependent functionalities, may also have the potential to cause harm. Discrepancies in existing human health and environmental studies have shown the importance of good quality, well-characterized reference nanomaterials for toxicological studies. Here we make a case for the importance of the detailed characterization of nanoparticles, using several methods, particularly to allow the recognition of impurities and the presence of chemically identical but structurally distinct phases. Methods to characterise fully, commercially available multi-wall carbon nanotubes at different scales, are presented. ?? 2009 Berhanu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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Characterisation of carbon nanotubes in the context of toxicity studies