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Reference materials play a critical role in validating analytical methods and assessing accuracy and comparability of results among different laboratories and over time. A reference material is defined as a “material, sufficiently homogeneous and stable with respect to one or more specified properties, which has been established to be fit for its intended use in a measurement process”.
A certified reference material (CRM) is defined as a “reference material characterized by a metrologically valid procedure for one or more specified properties, accompanied by a reference material certificate that provides the value of the specified property, its associated uncertainty, and a statement of metrological traceability”.
Most CRMs are produced by National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States; the European Commission Joint Research Centre for Directorate F, Health Consumers and Reference Materials (JRC) (Geel, Belgium); Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in Germany; National Measurement Institute Australia (NMIA); National Research Council of Canada (NRCC); National Institute of Metrology China (NIMC); National Metrology Institute of Japan (NMIJ); Korea Research Institute for Science and Standards (KRISS); and others.
QCM (Quality Control Material) is a material intended for internal laboratory quality control. A material or substance one or more of whose property values are sufficiently homogeneous, stable and well established to be used for maintaining or monitoring measurement processes. A QCM does not have formally assigned property values or uncertainties.
1. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry - March 2018, Volume 410, Issue 8, pp 2045–2049
2. ISO/CD Guide 80 - Guidance for in-house Production of Reference Materials for Metrological Quality Control (QCMs)