npSCOPE: LIST and H2020 project partners to develop a new prototype instrument

Published on 05/02/2018

In January 2017 was officially launched the H2020 research project Nanoparticle-scope (npSCOPE). npSCOPE developed with nine partners coming from Luxembourg, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and France, represents a promising breakthrough for LIST as a fledging RTO. One year after the launch, research and industry project partners are working side-by-side to create a new prototype instrument as part of the H2020 programme of the European Commission. 

npSCOPE concept

The equipment serves the critical function of enabling the physico-chemical characterisation of nanoparticles on one single instrument, compared to several previously, to determine what npSCOPE identifies as three key questions: what nanoparticles look like, what they consist of, and what factors affect how they interact with matter? 

To answer these questions, LIST’s researchers specialised in Advanced Instrumentation for Ion Nano-Analytics as well as in Environmental health and the project partners (ZEISS, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf, Photonis, ETH Zürich, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, VITO, MJR Pharmjet, TOXALIM) combine their knowledge and expertise to develop a new integrated, optimised instrument. The aim is to provide a comprehensive physico-chemical characterisation of nanoparticles both in their original form and incorporated into complex matrices such as biological tissue.

The npSCOPE concept consists in coupling the Gas Field Ion Source (GFIS) technology developed by ZEISS with various sensors for composition and 3D visualisation, including in particular a high-performance compact Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer developed over the last several years by LIST’s experts. 

New laboratory space at LIST

Work on the dedicated new laboratory space at LIST’s premises to house the prototype npSCOPE instrument under development at the Belvaux site concluded in late 2017, including measures to mitigate environmental disturbance from vibrations, acoustic noise, temperature variations and electromagnetic fields. 

The instrument is primarily intended for use in the field of nanotoxicology, notably in the study of the toxicity of nanoparticles absorbed by the human body orally (for example, through breathing or ingestion) or via the skin. Other uses include the areas of materials science (e.g. semi-conductors, battery materials, photovoltaics, etc.), or life sciences.

> For any further information on npSCOPE, please contact Tom Wirtz via email. 

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Dr Tom WIRTZ
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