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Some microelectronics-industry processes involve the use of nanoparticles. One such example is an abrasive paste that contains silica nanoparticles. When the machines used in these processes are maintained, nanoparticles can be released into cleaning-related effluents or into the air that machine operators breathe. In development work carried out under the EU Nanostreem* project, industrial companies turned to CEA-Liten, a CEA Tech institute, to measure the nanoparticles released during maintenance operations.
Liten experts leveraged the specialized resources at the nanosafety platform (PNS) to take the measurements in real-time, providing reliable information on the concentration and granulometry of the particles in the air at the workstations. Additional measurements were completed at the CEA nanocharacterization platform (PFNC) on gas and liquid effluent samples to obtain a detailed chemical and morphological characterization of the pollutants. The test results and observations completed on site were used to make HSE (Health, Safety, Environment) policy recommendations to industrial companies for the use of protective equipment by operators of critical processes.
These nanoparticle testing and audit services also meet the needs of companies in other industries, from construction to food, drugs, and cosmetics. The institute has completed 450 workstation audits, and maintains a secure database of all measurement data, which is used to fine-tune recommendations and develop prediction tools.
*Nanomaterials strategies for safety assessment in advanced integrated circuit manufacturing
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.