Nanomaterials play an important role in science and in every day products. This is due to their varied and specific properties, whereby especially engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) have shown various beneficial properties for a wide range of application in consumables (e.g. cosmetics, drinks, food and food packaging). Silver nanoparticles for instance are hidden in meat packaging materials or in deodorants. Reasons for this can be found in the antibacterial effect of silver, which leads to high applicability in consumer products. However, ENPs are under permanent discussion due to their unforeseen hazards and an unknown disposition in living organisms and the environment. So far, there is a lack of methods, which allows for the fast and effective characterization and quantification of such nanoparticles in complex matrices (e.g. creams, fruit juice), since matrix components can impede a specific detection of the analyte. It was the objective of project INSTANT to address this topic and compose a method to detect nanoparticles as a first step. Therefore, the development of a sensor system with an upstream sample preparation for the characterization and quantification of specific nanoparticles in complex matrices using a label free optical sensor array in combination with novel recognition elements was developed. The promising optical technology iRIfS (imaging reflectometric interference sensor) was used for this purpose. As a recognition element, functionalized carbon nanotubes can be effectively used. Owing to their excellent electronical, mechanical and chemical properties, CNTs have already been used for extracting ENPs from complex matrices as sorbent material by filtration. After successful immobilization of CNTs on microscope glass slides e.g. the detection of stabilized silver nanoparticles extracted by a sample preparation unit using the iRIfS technology was performed.