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JRC Nanobiotechnology Laboratory

The Nanobiotechnology Flagship Laboratory has state-of-the-art facilities for interdisciplinary studies with a special emphasis on nanomaterials, nanomedicines & therapies, health surveillance technologies, advanced materials, and micro(nano)plastics

Nanobiotechnology Laboratory view

The JRC Nanobiotechnology Laboratory has state-of-the-art facilities for interdisciplinary studies with a special emphasis on the characterisation of nanomaterials, nanomedicines, advanced materials, and micro(nano)plastics.

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Our institutional work focuses on developing a science-based understanding of the physico-chemical properties of these materials and their interactions with biological systems. 

Our aims:

  • to support the safe and sustainable development of nanotechnology
  • to contribute to the development of methods for the detection, identification, quantification and characterisation of nanomaterials - including micro(nano)plastics - in food and consumer products
  • to provide tools and knowledge to better understand the occurrence of micro(nano)plastics and investigate their effects on the environment and human health.

We have a multidisciplinary team of scientists, including chemists, physicists, biologists, and materials scientists with extensive experience in the fields of physico-chemical characterisation of materials and nanobiosciences.

In the Framework of Open Access to JRC Research Infrastructures, the JRC offers external researchers access to the Nanobiotechnology Laboratory to promote the development and exploitation of nanotechnology, advanced materials and related topics. Researchers can conduct a range of research activities from experimental proof-of-concept studies to the testing/optimisation of developed technologies (H2020 Technology readiness level 2-4).

The laboratory is also the pilot facility under the Framework of Open Access for Training and Capacity Building for Enlargement and Integration Countries.   


What we offer

We offer direct access to facilities with a range of fully integrated advanced instrumentation, including training and research expertise on different topics, e.g.:

  • Nanomaterial synthesis and characterisation
  • Surface chemical analysis of nano- and macromaterials
  • Detection of nanomaterials and micro(nano)plastics in various environmental compartments and other complex matrices
  • Characterisation of interactions of nanomaterials/nanomedicines/nanoplastics with biological systems based on in vitro biocompatibility studies
  • Biocompatibility studies incl. cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, immunotoxicity and, nanomaterial uptake studies using various human/animal cell lines, primary cells and stem cells
  • Biomolecular interaction studies, in-depth characterisation of antibodies and antigens, bio-interfaces characterisation
  • Surface modification and nano-fabrication 
  • Advanced materials characterisation for applications beyond the biological-medical fields (energy, transport, etc.).

Selected priority topics will be specified in Open Access calls for proposals. Here the latest one. 

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The Nanobiotechnology Laboratory offers extensive facilities and instruments to support the development and characterisation of advanced materials with particular emphasis on nanomaterials and nanosystems as follows.

Nanoparticle synthesis and processing

The laboratory provides well equipped facilities for the wet-chemical synthesis and modification of inorganic and organic nanoparticles:


  • General Chemistry (Acid/Base, Organic)
  • Synthesis of inorganic/organic nanoparticles (TiO2, ZnO, CeO2, FexOy, SiO2, Ag, Au and polymeric based nanomaterials)
  • Synthesis of core shell nanoparticles (Ag-Au, Au-Ag,…)
  • Access to nanoparticles from the JRC Nanomaterials Repository
  • Colloidal dispersion of nanomaterials
  • Cryo-milling facilities to fabricate model micro(nano)plastics.


Physical-chemical characterisation of macro- and nanomaterials, micro(nano)plastics and surfaces

The laboratory's analytical platform provides access to an extensive range of state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation for physico-chemical characterisation of advanced materials (nanomaterials, nanomedicines, biomaterials, sensing platforms):

  • Measurements of nanoparticle size, size distribution,  mass density, shape, Z-Potential (SEM, TEM, DLS, CLS, MALS, AUC, LD)
  • Size fractionation (AF4, CF3, SEC)
  • Detection and identification of nanomaterials in complex matrices (AF4-ICP-MS)
  • Core shell structures characterisation
  • Surface chemistry analysis of flat samples /supported nanoparticle films (XPS, ToF-SIMS)
  • Crystallographic structure (XRD)
  • Surface and thin film characterisation (Raman spectroscopy, Ellipsometer, AFM)
  • Nanomedicine formulation evaluation by HPLC
  • FTIR-microscopy with focal-plane array technology
  • Single particle and single cell ICP-MS facilities
  • Pyrolysis GCMS analysis
  • Bench-top Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Spectrometer  
  • Liquid and Gas Chromatography instrumentation (HPLC-DAD, HPLC-FLD; GC-MS) 
  • Climatic environmental chambers 
  • Air sampling and particle counters.


Characterising bio-interactions with nanomaterials and micro(nano)plastics

Well-equipped biology laboratories provide technical capabilities and vitro testing platforms to study the interaction of nanomaterials with biological systems:

  • Cell culture facilities and wide range of in vitro assays (MTT, Colony forming Efficiency, Non-invasive ECIS impedance spectroscopy)
  • Fluorescence Microscopy, High-Content Imaging analysis, confocal microscopy
  • Molecular-biological facilities incl. a transcriptomics and PCR platforms


Micro-fabrication of bio-functional surfaces and biomolecular interaction studies.

The laboratory's microfabrication platform provides access to a clean room class ISO 7/6 for development of bio-functional surfaces and biomolecular studies:

  • Biomolecular interaction studies, characterisation of antibodies and antigens, bio-interface characterisation (SPR, QCM, CD, ITC). 
  • Surface functionalisation and controlled immobilisation of proteins for optimized cell culturing and molecular detection
  • Gold and titanium thin film deposition
  • Classical thiol and silane chemistries for surface modification
  • Polymer deposition by plasma polymerisation
  • Photolithography
  • Microspotting / Micro contact printing of biomolecules.