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Dimensional Measurement Services


The Dimensional Measurement Services Project within the Semiconductor & Dimensional Metrology Division (683) of the Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) realizes and disseminates the SI units of length, concentrates on dimensional measurements in the range of a few micrometers to one meter, and provides the delivery of those measurements, standards and infrastructural technology services that promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness.

We also maintain and develop the advanced interferometric systems required to transfer the frequency-based realization of the SI length scale to physical artifacts. We perform research into advancing the state of the art of coordinate dimensional metrology and developing methods to quantify the performance evaluation of dimensional measurement instrumentation. We actively support international and national dimensional metrology standards committees by our participation and leadership and with emphasis on rigorous uncertainty evaluation.


The Dimensional Measurement Services project provides industry high accuracy dimensional measurements within an internationally accepted quality system. These measurements span the dimensional metrology needs over length scales ranging from micrometers to meters. Our measurements are targeted to provide measurement results that are either of very high value to our customers or high leverage into the industrial metrology community where a single calibration may propagate into hundreds or thousands of subsequent measurement results. This is accomplished by taking state-of-the-art equipment and optimizing the performance using superior environmental control, process development, and other metrology techniques. Rigorous focus on continuous improvement and flexibility of our measurement systems result in state of the art traditional measurement services and in many cases unique capability unmatched at the industrial or NMI level.

Figure 2. NIST M48 Coordinate Measuring Machine.
Figure 2. NIST M48 Coordinate Measuring Machine.

Selected Publications on Dimensional Metrology:

Arrow Gage Blocks
Arrow Uncertainty and Statistics
Arrow Other Calibrations
Arrow Measurement Assurance
Arrow 20-Degree Celsius Paper

Major Accomplishments:

  • Implemented a comprehensive quality system for all PED dimensional calibrations resulting in conformity with international accreditation practices.
  • Developed the NIST micro-feature probe that provides the most accurate dimensional measurement of features in the 50 mm to 100 mm size range in the world.
  • Reduced client artifact measurement time by increasing instrument efficiencies throughout the array of carefully selected measurement activities.
  • Advanced the NIST Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) capability to current best in the world status while increasing the flexibility and availability of the instruments.
Figure 1. Measurement of API Rotary Master Gauge on CMM. © Robert Rathe
Figure 1. Measurement of API Rotary Master Gauge on CMM. © Robert Rathe

Lead Organizational Unit:



  • The Dimensional Measurement Services Project receives more than $1.0M in measurement income from over 400 industrial, government, and international customers.

Facilities/Tools Used:

  • Advanced Measurement Laboratory (
  • American Petroleum Institute Grand Master Facility

Figure 3. Measurement of a single crystal silicon sphere on the M48 CMM.
Figure 3. Measurement of a single crystal silicon sphere on the M48 CMM.

Related Programs and Projects:

  • Advanced Dimensional Measurement Systems for Manufacturing
  • SI Length and Traceability

Associated Products:

  • Engineering Metrology Toolbox-An array of mechanisms we make available to our customers to help them achieve high-accuracy dimensional measurements traceable to national and international standards.

Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML)
Semiconductor & Dimensional Metrology Division (683)

General Information:
301-975-3468 Telephone
301-869-0822 Facsimile

100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8211
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8211