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Atomic Spectroscopy Group


The mission of the Atomic Spectroscopy Group is to measure, calculate, critically compile, and disseminate reference data on atomic properties and fundamental constants in support of basic research, commercial development, and national priorities.

The program in atomic spectroscopy at NIST provides accurate reference data on spectral lines and energy levels for a wide variety of important applications. Our spectrometers, among the most powerful of their type in the world, can record spectra from the extreme ultraviolet (wavelength = 1 nm) to the infrared (wavelength = 18 000 nm) and include a 10.7 m normal-incidence spectrograph, a 10.7 m grazing incidence spectrograph, a high resolution Fourier transform spectrometer, and a high accuracy Fabry-Pérot laser wavemeter. The Data Center compiles wavelengths, energy levels, and transition probabilities that support numerous applications in industry and the scientific community.

The Atomic Spectroscopy Group at NIST has a long history of contributions to optical science and metrology. Please read Joseph Reader's report on the group's history for more information.


High-Resolution Atomic Spectroscopy—Accurate measurements of atomic wavelengths, energy levels, oscillator strengths and isotope and hyperfine structure using diffraction grating spectrographs, Fourier transform spectrometers.

Spectroscopy of Engineered Atoms—Experiments with atomic systems designed to have features more favorable for improved measurements of atomic properties and constants of nature.

Plasma Metrology—Experimental and computational techniques in support of commercial and scientific uses of plasmas.

Atomic Spectroscopy Data Center —Critical compilations of atomic energy levels, transition wavelengths, and transition probabilities. Online databases.

Electron Beam Ion Trap (EBIT) Facility—The NIST EBIT Facility is used to investigate the science and applications of highly charged ions.



Alexander Kramida (center) talks with Montgomery College students Thomas Carpentier (left) and Eric Carpentier (right).

  • Uses and Users of NIST's Atomic Spectra Database, The online Atomic Spectra Database (ASD) provides the most authoritative information about atomic spectra available anywhere, and it is used by researchers worldwide. But how wide, exactly, is that world? What elements and wavelengths are in highest demand by different groups? And how can the ASD better serve its user community?

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Technical inquiries:

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Bldg. 221, Rm. A139
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8422
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8422