As a specialist in nanometrology, LNE has been developing expertise in the characterization of nanomaterials for over ten years. To mark World Metrology Day, whose theme this year is "Metrology in the digital age", LNE is presenting the NanoMetrologIA platform, a tool it has developed to measure the dimensional properties of nanoparticles using artificial intelligence.
The adoption of digital technology is revolutionizing metrology, improving processes and opening up new perspectives. This is particularly true for the characterization of nano-objects, and nanoparticles in particular.
The characterization of nanoparticles is crucial to any sustainable innovation in the industrial sector. Their properties are linked to the various performance levels sought. The regulatory framework put in place in recent years imposes specific requirements in order to meet the public health challenge.
In this context, the characterization of nanomaterials is essential for industry. To this end, LNE has developed the NanometrologIA platform, which represents a step forward in supporting the deployment of nanomaterials within a calm, sustainable framework.
In practice, the measurement of nanoparticle size is based on multiple electron microscopy images that produce a statistical distribution of nanoparticle diameters.
Conventional methods, essentially manual, require several hours of processing and only work on particles whose entire contour is visible in the image. They are unable to discern particles in the form of aggregates or agglomerates, where they may be partially masked.
Speeding up nanoparticle measurement
To improve analysis and reduce image processing time, LNE has developed an algorithm based on deep learning from a dedicated database. This technique automatically identifies all particles, whether isolated or aggregated/agglomerated, and reconstructs the contour of each particle. Thanks to the NanoMetrologIA platform, it now only takes a few seconds to measure the size distribution of nanoparticles.
Today, the platform is mainly used to identify TiO2 titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which are widely used in many applications, including the now-banned E171 additive in the food industry. Work is continuing to enrich the algorithm training database, incorporating images of particles with different chemical compositions: SiO2, NaCl, Fe, Au, Ag.
World Metrology Day
World Metrology Day is an annual event in which over 80 countries celebrate the impact of measurement on our daily lives. The date of May 20 was chosen to commemorate the signing of the Metre Convention on May 20, 1875, marking the beginning of official international collaboration in the field of metrology. The international metrology community, whose aim is to guarantee the accuracy of measurements made throughout the world, uses World Metrology Day to raise awareness of metrology through posters and a website.
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