Brussels, 21 Jun 2006
Uncertainty Manager, a project supported by EUREKA, the small to medium enterprise (SME)-focused EU-wide funding body, has developed new software to crack uncertainty in chemical analysis. The new software gives researchers the opportunity to make better chemical assessments inside and outside the confines of the laboratory, and will have a barrage of uses.
There are 25,000 public control laboratories around the world. All must adhere to the same high standards for checking for chemical uncertainty, whether in foods, pharmaceuticals, waste control or sports. Measuring can be influenced by the temperature, humidity, and many other random factors - known collectively as uncertainty. To know the level of uncertainty gives an indication of the quality of the measurement.
In order to standardise the level of uncertainty, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) published its guide to uncertainty in measurements in 1995, which was joined by a second guide published by the European Analytical Chemistry Association (EURACHEM) and Cooperation on International Traceability in Analytical Chemistry (CITAC) organisation. These two works can be complicated to use, and this is where Uncertainty Manager comes into its own.
'We needed software to remove the barriers,' said Dr Bruno Wampfler of the Swiss Federal Materials Science and Technology Research Institute, coordinator of the project. While other computer programs are available to determine uncertainty, they tend to be slow and time consuming. Uncertainty Manage is the first to run on an ordinary PC, making the reporting of uncertainty automatic.
'Our software now allows evaluation of the measurement uncertainty of complex testing procedures in ten minutes,' said Dr Wampfler. 'We believe the Uncertainty Manager system offers an important contribution to the comparability of measurements worldwide.' Importantly, the program conforms to both the ISO and EURACHEM/CITAC guidelines.
The team, spread across institutes in Austria, Germany and Switzerland is likely to be an invaluable addition to the testing procedures from the Olympic Games to trade organisations.