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According to the ISO/IEC Guide 99:2007, International Vocabulary of Metrology (VIM), a certified reference material is a material of known homogeneity and stability, which is accompanied by documentation (certificate of analysis), issued by an authoritative body, providing one or more specified property values. These values have associated uncertainties and traceabilities obtained using valid reference measurement procedures. A certified reference material has been established to be fit for its intended use in measurement. In the laboratory a certified reference material is typically classified as a pure substance used to prepare calibration solutions or matrix material used to evaluate measurement bias

Chemicals are occasionally mistaken for reference materials. These are typically reagent grade or synthetic precursors. Documentation listing the basic physical properties may accompany the material. This documentation may even be referred to as a certificate; however the materials do not comply with ISO Standards requirements for certification and should not be assumed to be certified reference material. The purity of chemicals is usually given as a minimum concentration i.e. ≥98%. These should not be used for quantitative purposes ‘as is’. They may be suitable for use as secondary reference materials providing the purity is verified by comparison to a certified reference material


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