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Marla Dowell

Dr. Dowell is leader of the NIST Sources and Detectors Group, one of the most comprehensive laser metrology programs of any National Measurement Institute. Dr. Dowell's team has accelerated the development of new classes of high-speed electronic devices, provided measurement traceability to the semiconductor manufacturing industry with best-in-the-world accuracy for all ultraviolet laser instruments, and enabled high-power laser calibrations for critical U.S. defense programs with unique detector designs and coatings, among other accomplishments. Measures of success of her team include high levels of customer satisfaction, fast turn-around times, and funding support from both private and public sectors.

The Sources and Detectors Group supports the design and manufacture of optoelectronics components,  the fastest growing individual semiconductor product segment with estimated 2013 sales of $27.6 billion; the 2013 worldwide commercial laser revenues alone rose to $8.8 billion. Optical standards and measurement services, including those developed by the Sources and Detectors Group, are crucial to the design, construction, and qualification of the next generation broadband network as well as many other optoelectronic systems, e.g., healthcare, entertainment. The Group's contributions have been recognized with numerous awards, such as, the Federal Laboratory Consortium's Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer, the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, and Department of Commerce Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals.

Dr. Dowell has demonstrated hands-on leadership of her group's measurement services – from performing bench-level calibrations to implementing a highly-rated 17025 quality system. In addition, she has served the broader NIST community as a member of the NIST Assessment Review Board, NIST Safety Council, and the NIST People Council. Internationally, she has represented NIST on national and international standards committees for optics and photonics. Dr. Dowell's breadth of technical expertise and superior people management skills have been recognized by several prestigious awards: Department of Commerce Silver Medal, NIST Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity Award, Judson C. French Award, Allen V. Astin Award, and the Arthur S. Flemming Award from George Washington University.



Group Leader
Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division
Sources and Detectors Group


B.S., Physics with High Distinction and High Honors, University of Michigan
Ph.D., Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.B.A, University of Colorado at Boulder


Phone: 303-497-7455