Reading the pages of the Materials Today website you cannot help but notice the number of times nanotechnology is mentioned, it could be concerning a new drug that might one day cure Cancer or in a new electronic device that might tell us if there is life on Mars.
Surprisingly though, nanotechnology is still not completely understood by many including Governments and economic leaders who would benefit from  clear position statements, guidelines and standards outlining the responsible use of nanomaterials in today's society.
Consensus standards should be employed more widely as a sure step to improving the information in the public domain which may provide non scientists and scientists alike, with the facts, background and understanding required in their roles. Consensus standards as the name suggests are agreed through voting and resolution, usually created by standards bodies, with process and interim results laid open to public scrutiny and review.
As an example consensus standards play a critical role in the medical devices industry, not only on the material level but also in the end function of the device. Without these standards related industry, surgeons, doctors, healthcare workers and medical centers would have a very difficult market in which to function safely and efficiently.
For the field of nanotechnology to continue to flourish, develop and play a key role across all major sectors, general and technical consensus standards need to be put in place as quickly as possible to ensure ambiguity and bad practices do not tarnish an opportunity that many are claiming is the next big thing to move our society and economy forward.

Listen to our interview with Prof. Robert Hurt, Editor of Carbon, on a proposed nomenclature for 2D carbon materials. The article, published in Carbon, is available to download.