Workshop Report/Summary

Challenges in Characterizing Small Particles: Exploring Particles from the Nano- to Microscales: A Workshop Summary (2012)

Small particles—ranging in size from about one nanometer to tens of microns—are ubiquitous in the natural and engineered worlds. They are in the air, soil, and water on Earth and at the farthest reaches of the universe. But their properties and chemical composition are little understood, restricting scientists' and engineers' ability to predict and control their applications and impacts in both natural and engineered systems. On October 25-26, 2010, the National Academies' Chemical Sciences Roundtable convened a group of chemists and chemical engineers, with others from disciplines such as civil engineering, environmental medicine, geosciences, and material science and engineering to explore opportunities, challenges, and approaches to characterizing small particles and understanding their impacts. Speakers highlighted the critical importance of small particles in environmental science, materials and chemical sciences, biological science, and engineering. Further presentations examined new advances in characterizing small particles, including static, dynamic, experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches.