World Metrology Day: Artificial intelligence to make the characterization of nanoparticles more efficient and faster – Controls Tests Measures

A specialist in nanometrology, the LNE has been developing expertise dedicated to the characterization of nanomaterials for more than ten years. On the occasion of World Metrology Day, which this year has as its theme “Metrology in the digital age”, LNE is presenting the NanoMetrologIA platform: a tool it has developed to measure dimensional properties nanoparticles using artificial intelligence.

The adoption of digital technology is revolutionizing metrology by improving processes and opening up new perspectives. This is notably the case for the characterization of nano-objects, and more particularly of nanoparticles.

The characterization of nanoparticles is essential to accompany any sustainable innovation in the industrial field. Their properties are linked to the different performances 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, the LNE has developed the NanometrologIA platform, which is a step forward in supporting the deployment of nanomaterials in a serene and sustainable framework.

In practice, measuring the size of nanoparticles is based on multiple images obtained by electron microscopy which make it possible to produce a statistical distribution of the diameters of the nanoparticles.

Conventional methods, essentially manual, require several hours of processing and only work on particles whose entire outline is visible in the image. They do not make it possible to discern the particles in the form of aggregates or in the form of agglomerates where they can be partially masked.

Accelerating Nanoparticle Measurement

To improve analysis and reduce image processing time, LNE has developed an algorithm based on deep learning from a dedicated database. The technique implemented makes it possible, on the one hand, to automatically identify all the isolated or aggregated/agglomerated particles, and on the other hand, to reconstruct the outline of each particle. Thanks to the NanoMetrologIA platform, measuring the size distribution of nanoparticles now requires only a few seconds.

The platform is currently used mainly for the identification of titanium dioxide TiO2 nanoparticles, which are widely used in many applications, including the additive E171 in the food industry, which is currently prohibited. Work is continuing to enrich the algorithm training database by incorporating images showing particles of different chemical composition: SiO2, NaCl, Fe, Au, Ag.

world metrology day

World Metrology Day is an annual event where more than 80 countries celebrate the impact of measurement in our daily lives. The date of May 20 was chosen to commemorate the signing of the Meter Convention on May 20, 1875, marking the beginning of official international collaboration in the field of metrology. The international metrology community, which aims to ensure the accuracy of measurements made around the world, works on each World Metrology Day to raise awareness of metrology through posters and a website.

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World Metrology Day: Artificial intelligence to make the characterization of nanoparticles more efficient and faster – Controls Tests Measures

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