Characterization tools and techniques – engaging with manufacturers

by Andrew Maynard on March 13, 2009

Something that it would be good to see this website used for is an exchange between instrument manufacturers and users – both to help people realize what is available (together with the abilities and limitations of devices), and to help manufacturers get a better handle on what researchers etc. are looking for.

Bob Carr from NanoSight has just posted a comment on their product for sizing nanoparticles in liquid suspensions – it would be great if other manufacturers felt free to share information, and users to share experiences.

I would add that Bob was reticent to post anything for fear of it sounding too much like a commercial – and only did so after asking whether I thought it was appropriate. Speaking to several people, it seemed that the information that could be gained from an informal dialogue with instrument manufacturers would most likely far outweigh any fears of inappropriate advertising. That said, it seems that some guidelines might be helpful for such a dialogue. These are my suggestions for guidelines – they are in no way binding, and are open to being modified, but hopefully will underpin useful exchange of information:

  1. Instrument manufacturers should feel free to post information on products and techniques that are relevant to nanomaterial characterization in toxicology studies, as long as the information is accurate, applicable, and useful to readers. Blatant advertising should be avoided.
  2. Manufacturers posting information should be prepared to field questions about their products and how to use them to obtain good data.
  3. Instrument users (and potential users) should be free to question manufacturers on their instruments and their use. However, unfounded and unhelpful criticism of instruments/manufacturers/suppliers is strongly discouraged.

If there’s enough interest in exchanging information here, I’ll look at setting up a separate page on this website for the dialogue.



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1 Glynn Skerratt March 13, 2009 at 6:28 am

Good idea – gets my vote. My own angle on this would be learning of improvements in instrumentation for workplace monitoring and OHS aspects – particularly portable units.



2 Gary Roby April 10, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I agree that information exchange between all parties – academic, manufacturer, government, corporate – is an important option for this website. Like many others I am also a little cynical about the “real” intentions of postings like those from Bob (by the way, I personally think his is well-intentioned), because of the long history of whitewash and hidden agendas in the guise of FYI’s.

Because of the importance of ensuring that the information is objective and not part of some hidden agenda, I would suggest that blogs like those from Bob – involving products, communications from businesses, etc – have their own response section specifically for businesses and their employees/representatives. Then readers will at least be alerted to the possibility of other agendas and research the information appropriately. You may also reserve the right to move a category to the business section if it appears to be more than just information exchange.

While not a perfect solution it will give another way for people posting and people reading to review the postings in the appropriate way.

Kudos to your efforts and to all those involved.

Gary Roby

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