Nanotechnology is an innovative science that involves the design, characterization, production and application of structures by controlling their shape and size on a nanometric scale (1 to 100 nanometers). Thanks to the use of nanoscale materials, it is possible to achieve entirely new physical, chemical or biological properties. It is these unique properties that made them attractive and has led to their increasing use in many sectors, including chemicals, consumer products, health and medicine, the energy sector and the environment. The global nanotechnology market is projected to exceed EUR 150 billion by 2024.
Currently, the European Commission considers nanotechnology as a “Key Enabling Technology (KET)”. It is a technology that “enhances industrial innovation to meet societal challenges and create advanced and sustainable economies.” The current regulatory framework of the European Union covers nanomaterials both explicitly and implicitly. This means that the existing legislation covers nanomaterials even if they are not directly mentioned.
The most comprehensive and complex body of legislation on chemicals in the European Union is REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), which applies to all chemicals regardless of size, shape or state (including nanomaterials and nanoforms). Most of the registration requirements listed in REACH depend on the tonnage of a given substance produced or imported per year by one entity. This means that substances that are placed on the market in the European Union in quantities greater than 1 ton per year must be registered, while for quantities greater than 10 tonnes per year a comprehensive chemical safety assessment is required.
Many international projects (among which QSAR Lab is an active partner) are financed in the European Union and aim to develop rules and procedures for testing nanomaterials in a regulatory and legislative context (i.e. Gov4Nano, NanoREG2, NanoRIGO, RiskGONE). In addition, the QSAR Lab team is also involved in Horizon 2020 EU projects, which aim to develop advanced experimental methods and computer tools allowing for a reliable assessment of the risk to humans and the environment resulting from exposure to nanomaterials (PATROLS, NanoSolveIT, NanoInformaTIX).
QSAR Lab’s nanomaterial services include:
- Analysis, using computational chemistry methods to assess the biological activity and/or properties of nanomaterial(s) by:
- using the latest specialist software available,
- chemoinformatic analysis and nano-QSAR/QSPR modeling ‘from scratch’ (in line with OECD guidelines)
- preparation of computational analysis documentation that complies with the requirements for the registration of chemical substances
- Designing new nanomaterials with selected properties in accordance with the Safe-by-Design framework. The service includes:
- expert consultations and identification of the research problem,
- the process of designing the structure of a nanomaterial to achieve specific properties (physicochemical, toxicological and/or ecotoxicological) using computational chemistry, machine learning and multivariate data analysis.
- Development of chemoinformatics tools for risk assessment of nanomaterials.