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PML at Work

Highlights of Science and Services



BossNIST's Michael Boss to Receive Tech Transfer Award for MRI Calibration Standard

The device developed by Boss for calibrating MRI scanners is designed to standardize imaging of the diffusion of water molecules, a technique that can be useful in diagnosing traumatic brain injury (TBI), neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.




Accelerator calibration serviceNew Accelerometer Calibration Service to Start Soon Video

This state-of-the-art calibration service for will be sensitive enough to detect motion over distances as small as a few nanometers (the size scale of a single molecule) and frequencies up to 50,000 cycles per second (50 kHz). 




A new map for solid-state lightingFollowing a New MAP for Solid-State Lighting

NIST has now begun offering customers the second generation of its highly successful SSL Measurement Assurance Program (MAP-2), including a new set of lamp artifacts, new detailed measurement protocols, and revised operations.




Laser tracker testingPML to Help Automated Precision Incorporated Improve Laser Tracker Measurement Testing

In response to industrial needs, API and NIST will jointly research and develop new performance tests to help the automotive and aerospace industries understand and improve their industrial measurements.




Electronic brachytherapyComputing for Better Radiation Therapy

Doctors devising a plan of attack on a tumor may one day gain another tactical advantage thanks to a series of sophisticated calculations proposed by PML’s Dosimetry group.




New plug and pay standardsNIST Group Drafts Plug-and-Pay Standards

Plug-in electric vehicles are prompting increased demand for the electrical equivalent of the corner gas station. Now a standard produced by NIST’s U.S. National Work Group on Electric Vehicle Refueling and Submetering appears to be on its way to adoption.




Radioactive DatingHidden Uncertainties Uncovered in Nuclear Forensic Measurement

A little detective work by nuclear physicists has uncovered hidden uncertainties in a popular method for precisely measuring radioactive nuclides, often used to make reference materials for forensic analyses such as radioactive dating.




Unit pricingNew Best Practices Guide Shows Unit Pricing Is a Great Deal

In an effort to help shoppers everywhere get the best value for their money, researchers at NIST have produced a best practices guide for the layout and design of unit price labels.




Portable Vacuum StandardNew Portable Vacuum Standard

A novel Portable Vacuum Standard (PVS) has been added to the roster of NIST’s Standard Reference Instruments (SRI). It is now available for purchase as part of NIST’s ongoing commitment to disseminate measurement standards.




Million-pound weightMillion-Pound Makeover: Restoration Begins on NIST's 50-year-old Deadweight Machine Video

For the first time in half a century, NIST’s 4.45-million newton (equivalent to one million pounds-force) deadweight machine – the largest in the world – is being disassembled for cleaning, restoration, and recalibration. The first stage of the process, dismantling the top half of the three-story stack of weights, is now complete.



Hybrid spin valveHybrid Memory Device for Superconducting Computing Video

A team of NIST scientists has devised and demonstrated a novel nanoscale memory technology for superconducting computing that could hasten the advent of an urgently awaited, low-energy alternative to power-hungry conventional data centers and supercomputers.



2D contactBuilding a Better 2D Material with Silver 

Two-dimensional (2D) materials such as molybdenum-disulfide (MoS2) are attracting much attention for future electronic and photonic applications ranging from high-performance computing to flexible and pervasive sensors and optoelectronics. Now PML scientists have discovered a better metal contact that improves two-dimensional transistor performance.



Weighing GasWeighing Gas with Sound and Microwaves

NIST scientists have developed a novel method to rapidly and accurately calibrate gas flow meters, such as those used to measure natural gas flowing in pipelines, by applying a fundamental physical principle.




PET-MR phantomPrototype for First Traceable PET-MR Phantom

As cancer diagnostic tools, the new PET-MR imagers have shown promise, but thoroughly assessing their clinical performance requires calibrating the machines in a way that is traceable to a national standard.




Open SourceOpen-Source Software for Quantum Information

NIST has partnered with the private sector to develop the next-generation open-source control software for quantum information systems.




AFM probeNIST Sensor Could Improve One of Nano Research’s Most Useful Microscopes

Spotting molecule-sized features—common in computer circuits and nanoscale devices—may become both easier and more accurate with a new sensor developed at NIST.




Photonic thermometersLighting the Path to Smaller, Tougher Thermometers

Two prototypes for tiny chip-based thermometers are illuminating light’s potential to revolutionize the way temperature is gauged.




Time standard for NASDAQNIST-based Time Standard For NASDAQ

NASDAQ has announced the launch of a precision time-stamping service for tens of billions of dollars of electronic financial transactions each day based on remote provision of NIST official U.S. time.




Neutron CT scanNeutron Scan Helps Solve 787 Battery Fire Puzzle

NIST imaging with a neutron CT scan was used in a recent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.





Ultrasonic thermometersUltrasonic Thermometers for Medical Dosimetry

PML researchers are exploring whether ultrasound can be used to improve quality assurance tests for radiotherapy beams. 





SEM for STEMPML Outreach Promotes STEM Excitement

PML is helping to bring teachers, students, and manufacturers together to give students access to tabletop scanning electron microscopes.




iNEMI board of directors visit NISTiNEMI Board of Directors Visits NIST

NIST hosted the Board of Directors of the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) this week for an overview of NIST's support of the electronics industry.  




neutron image of rotor gaugeProtecting Vacuum Gauges: Patent Pending

PML researchers have applied for a provisional patent on a device to protect expensive “spinning-rotor” high-vacuum gauges – used as transfer standards and reference standards by calibration labs – that are vulnerable to damage during transport.  




X-ray image of forkliftBetter Cargo Inspection Standards at Border Crossings

A joint NIST-DHS project recently completed a series of image quality measurements of a high-energy x-ray vehicle-screening system at a new port-of-entry near El Paso, TX.




silicate bondingThin, Strong Bond for Vacuum Seal

An ultra-stable, ultra-thin bonding technology has been adapted by PML researchers for use as a super-strong vacuum seal that is less than 100 nanometers thick.




binary digitsLow Error-Rate Detector System for Telecommunications

NIST scientists have devised an experimental photon-detection system for communications with error rates far below even the most ideal conventional designs.




laser cutting metalNIST Fires Up Extended Calibration Service for Laser Welding and More

PML has launched a new multi-kilowatt laser power measurement service capability for high-power lasers of the sort used in cutting and welding metals, or defusing unexploded land mines.




nanowire arrayUniform Nanowire Arrays for Science and Manufacturing

Researchers reach a new milestone in the quest to make defect-free nanowires with diameters in the range of 100 nm -- at controlled size and location -- for applications including printable transistors for flexible electronics and high-efficiency light-emitting diodes. 




nanoscale junctionComputing with Single Atoms

The final frontier of microchip miniaturization is a transistor on the scale of a single atom. PML has iniitated a new research program to create just such a device in manufacturable, solid-state form by harnessing two capabilities unique to NIST.




Earth seen from spaceEarth Science: Seeing the Surface Clearly

NASA is funding NIST to use its Traveling SIRCUS laser-based sensor calibration facility to calibrate and characterize the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor on the first satellite in the Joint Polar Satellite System. JPSS will constitute the next generation of polar-orbiting weather satellites, to be developed by NASA and operated by NOAA. The first is expected to launch in early 2017. 



chip-scale magnetometerTiny Magnetic Sensor Attracts Interest

Ultra-sensitive magnetic sensor technology pioneered at PML may soon be commercialized for a host of applications from detection of unexploded bombs and underground pipes to geophysical surveying and perhaps even imaging of the brain and heart.




ocean waveGauging the Hue of the Sea

The color of scattered light from sunlit seawater contains important information about ocean health and concentration of substances such as chlorophyll. But taking color measurements from ships has been difficult because of interference from other sources of light -- for example, skylight reflected off the ocean's surface.

Now PML scientists have designed and produced a sand-blasted blue tile to serve as an ocean-like reflectance sample.  



NISTAR instrumentTaking the Wraps off NISTAR

The NIST Advanced Radiometer (NISTAR), mothballed for more than a decade, is slated to make its space debut as part of the Deep Space Climate Observatory mission.




nanoscale structuresNIST-Intel Partnership Workshop

At the seventh in a series of workshops, researchers shared state-of-the-art samples for evaluation by about 20 NIST characterization techniques that do not exist anywhere else in the world.




QuICSUMD and NIST Announce the Creation of the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS)

Scientists at the new center will conduct basic research to understand how quantum systems can be effectively used to store, transport, and process information.




body armorBetter Body Armor Standards for US Army

PML scientists are improving the standardization of the bullet-stopping chest and back plates worn by US soldiers in battle.




Pressure sensorWorld’s First Photonic Pressure Sensor Outshines Traditional Mercury Standard

Within weeks of seeing “first light,” a novel pressure-sensing device has surpassed the performance of the best mercury-based techniques in resolution, speed, and range at a fraction of the size. The new instrument, called a fixed-length optical cavity (FLOC), works by detecting subtle changes in the wavelength of light passing through a cavity filled with nitrogen gas.



CombsNIST 'Combs' the Atmosphere to Measure Greenhouse Gases

In a recent demonstration, a pair of laser frequency combs was used to measure the simultaneous signatures of several greenhouse gases along a 2-kilometer path.




Laser calibration serviceNIST Launches New Calibration Service for High-Power Lasers

The new service is offered for power levels up to 10 kilowatts(kW). These high-power lasers are used by manufacturers for applications such as cutting and welding metals, as well as by the military for more specialized applications like defusing unexploded land mines.



Big GTrouble with a Capital 'G'

NIST has taken part in a new push to address a persistent and growing problem in physics: the value of G, the Newtonian constant of gravitation. The more experiments researchers conduct to pin G down, the more their results diverge.




close-up of transition edge sensorImproving on X-ray Vision

Advanced spectrometers pioneered at NIST may speed the arrival of long-awaited materials and devices including advanced high-temperature superconductors and high-efficiency photovoltaic cells.




design for diffusion phantomNew Phantoms for Better Brain Imaging

Image-calibration technology designed and developed by NIST scientists has been adopted for use in multi-site clinical trials in the United States and Europe to study the effects of traumatic brain injury.






James Olthoff Named Director of NIST’s Physical Measurement Laboratory

James Olthoff, a 27-year veteran of NIST, has been named director of PML.





LadarNIST Laser Comb System Maps 3D Surfaces Remotely for Manufacturing, Forensics

Researchers at NIST have demonstrated a laser-based imaging system that creates high-definition 3D maps of surfaces from as far away as 10.5 meters. The method may be useful in diverse fields, including precision machining and assembly, as well as in forensics.



Metric superherosIntroducing the League of SI Superheroes: The New Champions of Metric 

To celebrate Metric Week (Oct. 5-11), NIST would like to introduce you to the League of SI Superheroes. The League of SI Superheroes use their incredible powers of measurement to perform amazing feats of science and engineering.  




rings from spontaneous parametric down-conversionGenerating Photons by the Numbers

A new system based on photon pair creation is designed to produce specific numbers of photons on demand, with potentially significant benefits for research, environmental monitoring, astronomy, and other applications.




Ron ToshCalibrating Cancer Radiotherapy Beams Using Light and Sound

More and more therapy clinics are using radiation beams with non-standard, complex dose profiles, making it tricky to use traditional calibration tactics. PML scientists demonstrate two potentially better methods that measure subtle changes in temperature using ultrasound or optical light.  



Entangled Photon TripletsThree's a Charm: NIST Detectors Reveal Entangled Photon Triplets

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada have directly entangled three photons in the most technologically useful state for the first time, thanks in part to superfast, super-efficient single-photon detectors developed by NIST. 




New standard for microsensor technologyNIST Helps Develop New Standard for Microsensor Technology

NIST has contributed to the development of a new standard for defining the performance of micromechanical sensors—a field that is expected to expand rapidly in coming decades as these versatile sensors increasingly become part of electronic networks. 




PoloniumPolonium's Most Stable Isotope Gets Revised Half-Life Measurement

Scientists at NIST have determined that polonium-209, the longest-lived isotope of this radioactive heavy element, has a half-life about 25 percent longer than the previously determined value, which had been in use for decades.




Sample under testScientists Shed Light on Organic Photovoltaic Characteristics

SDMD scientists have developed a method that allows the prediction of the current density-voltage curve of a photovoltaic device.




Ravi AttotaOptical Microscope Technique Confirmed as Valid Nano-Measurement Tool

Recent experiments have confirmed that a technique developed several years ago at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) can enable optical microscopes to measure the three-dimensional (3-D) shape of objects at nanometer-scale resolution—far below the normal resolution limit for optical microscopy.




Illustration of symmetry in the magnetic properties of strontium atomsJILA Team Finds First Direct Evidence of 'Spin Symmetry' in Atoms

The discovery, described in Science Express, was made possible by the ultra-stable laser used to measure properties of the world's most precise and stable atomic clock.




the sun at 304 angstromsSeeing the Sun's EUV Output in a Whole New Light

Precision calibrations in the extreme ultraviolet range may hasten the advent of a new generation of degradation-free spectrometers for use on satellites that monitor solar radiation.




Smokestack simulatorA Case of the Flue: Major Construction Complete for PML's Scale-Model Smokestack Video

The newly built research facility, which houses a 50-meter-long horizontal smokestack, will let researchers study the flow characteristics of flue gases and improve the accuracy with which greenhouse gas emissions are monitored.




 Hydrogen bathNIST Therapy for Ultraviolet Laser Beams: Hydrogen-treated Fibers

To make a better optical fiber for transmitting laser beams, the first idea that comes to mind is probably not a nice long hydrogen bath. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have put this hydrogen “cure” to practical use, making optical fibers that transmit stable, high-power ultraviolet laser light for hundreds of hours. 




Andrew WilsonNIST Ion Duet Offers Tunable Module for Quantum Simulator 

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a pas de deux of atomic ions that combines the fine choreography of dance with precise individual control.




Dynamic metrologyIt’s a Dynamic World, Now NIST Can Help You Measure Its Changes

Crash-test dummies, yarn-spinning machines and steel girders in bridges. What do they have in common? Look inside them all and you find transducers, devices that measure the forces that push, pull, weigh upon and slam into them. Until recently, it was difficult to calibrate them in all but the simplest sense.



PG Crime LabIt’s a Match: NIST and Prince George’s County Crime Lab Team Up on Ballistics Research

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology are working to improve ballistics matching methods with assistance from the Prince George's County, Maryland, Police Department Crime Laboratory. Their work together will contribute to a collection of topographic data from thousands of fired bullets and cartridge cases.



Ultra-enriched siliconBeyond Six Nines: Ultra-enriched Silicon Paves the Road to Quantum Computing

NIST researchers have created what may be the most highly enriched silicon currently being produced: more than 99.9999% pure silicon-28 (28Si). Many quantum computing schemes require isotopically pure silicon, for example to act as a substrate in which qubits – the quantum bits that store information – are embedded.



Physicists Scott Diddams and Scott Papp'Comb on a Chip' Powers New NIST/Caltech Atomic Clock Design

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have demonstrated a new design for an atomic clock that is based on a chip-scale frequency comb, or a microcomb.




Jodie PopeFill ‘er Up: NIST Develops Prototype Meter Test for Hydrogen Refueling Stations

To support the fair sale of gaseous hydrogen as a vehicle fuel, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a prototype field test standard to test the accuracy of hydrogen fuel dispensers.





Airport scannerBackscatter Body Scan Redux

Two years ago, NIST researchers reported an assessment of the radiation levels produced by a backscatter x-ray system used by TSA to screen airline passengers. Now a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) team is conducting independent measurements of a backscatter machine on NIST’s Gaithersburg campus.




Skin tonesSeeing Your True Colors: Standards for Hyperspectral Imaging

A technology called hyperspectral imaging offers doctors a noninvasive, painless way to discriminate between healthy and diseased tissue and reveal how well damaged tissue is healing over a wide area. The catch? A lack of calibration standards is impeding its use.




Illustration of bias voltage controlled magnetoresistance enabled in an organic light-emitting diode structure due to the charge trapping induced by the insertion of SAM.Manipulating Magnetic Field Effects in Organic Semiconductors

Researchers have found a way to change the magnetoresistance of a thin (≈ 100 nm) organic semiconducting material by pairing it with a self-assembled monolayer to alter its characteristics.




Lab apparatus

NIST Technique Could Make Sub-wavelength Images at Radio Frequencies

Imaging and mapping of electric fields at radio frequencies (RF)* currently requires the use of metallic structures such as dipoles, probes and reference antennas. To make such measurements efficiently, the size of these structures needs to be on the order of the wavelength of the RF fields to be mapped. This poses practical limitations on the smallest features that can be measured.



 close-up of SPADNew SPAD Control System -- High Efficiency, Low Noise

An exquisitely sensitive, semiconductor-based, single-photon detection system has the highest reported detection efficiency of any device of its type and is capable of detecting hundreds of millions of photons per second with very low noise.





micrograph of AFM tipAFM Systems Take a Tip from Nanowires

In response to requests from the semiconductor industry, scientists found that atomic force microscope probe tips made from its near-perfect gallium nitride nanowires are superior in many respects to standard silicon or platinum tips.




diagram of molybdenum disulfideNanoelectronics: First Measurement of Moly's Thermal Conductivity

Scientists have succeeded in measuring a previously unknown but essential property − thermal conductivity −of an ultra-thin material that is expected to play a major role in the fast-emerging field of nanoelectronics. 




 DNA strandsJILA Study Finds Crowding Has Big Effects on Biomolecules

Relatively little is known about the influence of crowding at the cellular level. A new study shows that it has dramatic effects on individual biomolecules, such as a 35-fold increase in the folding rate of ribonucleic acid.




diagram of chipNIST Chip Produces and Detects Specialized Gas for Biomedical Analysis

A chip-scale microfluidic device that both produces and detects a specialized gas used in biomedical analysis and medical imaging has been built and demonstrated. 




 image depicting scintillationDetecting Neutrons . . . With Light

A suite of precision tests show that excimer scintillation is a highly promising candidate to fill the growing worldwide need for neutron detectors. 




photo of microfabricationA 'Gold Standard' for Graphene Fabrication

A new method may herald a new generation of standards for electrical resistance. It offers substantial performance enhancement over most existing devices.




photo of new watt balanceUnderstanding a New Way to Weigh in the Revised SI

Jon Pratt, whose group is assembling and testing NIST's new watt balance, explains how the Planck constant is related to mass.




 George OrjiPML Leadership Prominent Throughout Newly Released ITRS
Several PML experts, along with others at NIST, served in key roles that helped shape the new edition of the ITRS.




Jason Coder and John LadburyCable Connections v. Cell Phones

A recently completed suite of measurements found that, in some situations, 4G cell phone signals can interfere with telecommunications connections.





detector apparatusNIST Chips Aid Study of Key Event in Early Universe

Contributions by NIST to the BICEP2 telescope research project have helped enable discovery of the first direct evidence of cosmic inflation.




co-developers of traveling combPortable Frequency Comb Rolls Out of the Lab

The traveling system can be operated at remote sites or in a moving vehicle, and has a volume less than 1 liter. But it produces measurements as accurate at those obtained with laboratory apparatus.




high harmonic generation waveguideDemagnetization Dynamics on a Femtosecond Time Scale

A NIST-CU collaboration through JILA is using ultra-short, high-energy light pulses to study the fundamental physics involved when materials become demagnetized on femtosecond time scales and nanometer spatial scales. 




scientist using SEM 3D Technique for SEM Metrology on ~ 10 nm Structures

 Researchers have developed a powerful new method for 3D characterization of nanostructures using scanning electron microscope data and a library of model shapes.




artist's conception of dropletJILA Physicists Discover 'Quantum Droplet' in a Semiconductor

The researchers used an ultrafast laser and help from German theorists to discover a new semiconductor particle. Although its lifetime is only a fleeting 25 ps, the quantum droplet is stable enough for research on how light interacts with specialized forms of matter.



 cutaway diagram of aerosol canistersDeclaring Aerosol Contents: What's in the Can?

PML's Office of Weights and Measures was recently asked to convene and lead a meeting of manufacturers, trade groups, and federal officials to reach a consensus on whether certain kinds of aerosol products should be sold by weight or by volume.





ring of atomsAtomtronics: Hysteresis Confirmed in a Superfluid BEC

Scientists measured the phenomenon -- predicted by theory but never before observed -- in a toroidal population of sodium atoms. Hysteresis is an essential property of electronic systems, and the research could hasten the advent of "atomtronic" circuits for practical devices.




diagram of clockStrontium Atomic Clock Sets World Records for Precision, Stability

The experimental system at JILA is about 50 percent more precise than the record holder of the past few years, NIST’s quantum logic clock, and would neither gain nor lose one second in about 5 billion years.




students with NIST scientistPreparing the Next Generation of Female Physicists

NIST partnered with the University of Maryland to sponsor the Mid-Atlantic Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics from Jan. 17 - 19, 2014. The event drew 135 women from 50 colleges and universities.




neutron with clockNew Precision in Measuring the Neutron Lifetime

Researchers achieved a five-fold reduction in the dominant uncertainty of their measurement methodology. Their results will intensify the worldwide effort to determine the exact lifetime of free neutrons.




laboratory deviceSurface Detail: Exploring the Secrets of Mass Variation

A team has developed innovative apparatus to study the way in which standard artifacts gain and lose mass in different environments.




new detectorMultiple Messages from Single Photons

A NIST-JPL collaboration has designed a new detector array that can extract more informaiton than usual from individual particles of light.




 Runway_distraction_anim_125Helping the Judicial System Understand Laser Strikes on Aircrafts

Joshua Hadler and colleagues in PML’s Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division have devised a simple, accurate measurement system that can help law enforcement and the judicial system in prosecutions involving a growing threat to aviation: laser attacks.



NIST4_125New Value for the Planck Constant May Hasten Electronic Kilogram

After two years of examining, refurbishing, and testing the aging workhorse watt balance (NIST-3), PML researchers have used the instrument to obtain their latest measured value of the Planck constant. The next will come from NIST-4, which will begin operations later this year.


OWM Sees Progress in Proficiency Testing

The Office of Weights and Measures' Laboratory Metrology program, which recently revised its training and proficiency testing systems, has witnessed the highest test scores in six years.





Team Develops 'Spinning Trap' to Measure Electron Roundness

JILA researchers have developed a method of spinning electric and magnetic fields around trapped molecular ions to measure whether the ions' tiny electrons are truly round.




PML Staff Honored at 2013 NIST Awards CeremonySilver_Medal_125

NIST recognizes outstanding work at the 2013 Awards Ceremony, including achievements by dozens of PML employees.





boss_phantomNIST Calibration Tools to Encourage Use of Novel Medical Imaging Techniques

Researchers have developed prototype calibration tools for a promising experimental medical imaging technique.





Quantum-ComputingNIST Demonstrates How Losing Information Can Benefit Quantum Computing

Scientists entangle two ions by leaking some information to the environment.




Creating a chisel toolmark under controlled conditions with a custom-made rig.Supporting the Validity of Toolmark Identification

Strengthening the scientific basis of forensic toolmark identification by applying mathematically objective metrics.





nanowire placementThe Inner Secrets of Nanowires

New analyses using laser-assisted atom probe tomography show how the composition and morphology of layers depends on conditions during epitaxial growth.




 Marilyn_125In Memoriam: Marilyn E. Jacox

Marilyn E. Jacox, an internationally recognized leader in molecular spectroscopy who joined the National Bureau of Standards in 1962, died on October 30, 2013 at the age of 84.





Controllable Mode Competition in a Phonon Lasermembranes_original_125

Using a novel realization of a "phonon laser," scientists at PML and the Joint Quantum Institute have observed and learned to control a process called mode competition.







TEM_125Perfect Faults: A Self-Correcting Crystal May Unleash the Next Generation of Advanced Communications 

PML and an international team have joined to engineer and measure a potentially important new class of nanostructured materials for microwave and advanced communications devices.





Elizabeth-Donley_125NIST's New Compact Atomic Clock Design Uses Cold Atoms to Boost Precision

Physicists have demonstrated a compact atomic clock design that relies on cold rubidium atoms instead of the usual hot atoms -- a switch that promises improved precision and stability.







Robot_arm_125High-Tech Measurements for High-Frequency Antennas

A team of researchers at PML’s Antenna Metrology Lab in Boulder, CO has devised a first-of-its-kind system combining a precision 3-meter industrial robot arm with a metrology-grade laser tracker and other apparatus – that can measure a probe antenna’s position to within 50 micrometers while it is moving.





SIM Metrology School at NISTFourFolks_125

During the last week of October, 2013, 53 students from 29 countries attended the metrology school conducted by NIST in Gaithersburg, MD for the Sistema Interamericano de Metrologia (SIM).





Superconducting-Circuit_125Quantum Voltage Standard Delivered to BIPM

A PML team has delivered a state-of-the-art 10 V voltage standard to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), where it will serve as the organization’s newest primary transfer standard for voltage comparisons with national metrology institutes around the world.





_-Konrad-Lehnert-and-Tauno-Palomaki_125Entangling' a Microscopic Drum's Beat with Electrical Signals

Extending evidence of quantum behavior farther into the mesoscopic realm, physicists have demonstrated quantum entanglement between a microscopic mechanical drum and a microwave pulse.






Balloon_125NIST Carbon Nanotube Chips Go Ballooning for Climate Science

A huge plastic balloon floated high in the skies over New Mexico carrying an experimental spectrometer with custom components devised by PML researchers. The instrument will provide data on solar irradiance for climate-related studies.






Silicon-Rings_125NIST/JQI Team Gets the Edge on Photon Transport in Silicon

Scientists at PML and JQI have a new way to approach a difficult problem in quantum physics by creating topological edge states of light. The photons behave like electrons in the quantum Hall effect, but respond to a synthetic magnetic field, thus providing a valuable new way to study quantum phenomena.






Light-Force-Laser_125Force to be Reckoned With: NIST Measures Laser Power with Portable Scale

The  new device could become a simpler, faster, less costly and more portable alternative to conventional methods of calibrating high-power lasers used in manufacturing, the military and research. It employs a mirrored scale that detects the force of the incoming laser beam.






ultracold_potassium_rubidium_molecules_125Beyond Quantum Simulation: JILA Physicists Create 'Crystal' of Spin-Swapping Ultracold Gas Molecules

The novel structure might be used to simulate or even invent new materials that derive exotic properties from quantum spin behavior, for electronics or other practical applications.






Spraying Mosquitoes...With Gamma Rayscup_125

A recently announced malaria vaccine – found to be 100 % effective in a small human sample – was years in the making, and relied on key measurements by PML scientists.






Ytterbium-Lattice-Atomic-Clock_125NIST Ytterbium Atomic Clocks Set Record For Stability

A pair of experimental atomic clocks based on ytterbium atoms has set a new record for stability. The clocks act like 21st-century pendulums or metronomes that could swing back and forth with perfect timing for a period comparable to the age of the universe.





Case_Front_125Making the Case for History

The original Declaration of Independence on display at the National Archives reached its 237th anniversary this year protected by NIST science and engineering.






Crime_Scene_980_125Collaboration with Industry Leads to Improved Forensics Work and Industry Growth

Three-dimensional (3D) scanners used at crime scenes for forensic investigations are not just the stuff of prime-time television. Investigators and crime laboratories are using laser scanning measurement systems to measure and model, in 3D simulations, the critical aspects of crime scenes.





Anthrax-toxins_125New Explanation for Key Step in Anthrax Infection Proposed by NIST and USAMRIID

A new hypothesis concerning a crucial step in the anthrax infection process has been advanced by scientists at NIST and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Md.






interactions-among-atoms_125JILA Researchers Discover Atomic Clock can Simulate Quantum Magnetism

Researchers at JILA have for the first time used an atomic clock as a quantum simulator, mimicking the behavior of a different, more complex quantum system.






yuqin_125LEDs Get a Life Sentence

The light-emitting diode (LED) appears on track to become the light of our lives. Switching to bright, energy-efficient, durable, and environmentally friendly LED lighting systems could save the nation billions, and PML researchers are helping to make that transition possible.




GuysAtTable800_125The Persistence of Memory: Looking into MRAM

Many in the electronics industry want to change how memories are made. PML scientists are exploring the physics and developing the metrology required to do just that -- including an evaluative scan technique that is an order of magnitude faster than any comparably accurate method.




Hybrid-Metrology-Computer-Chip_125NIST Chip Measurement Advance Earns 'Oscar of Innovation'

A fundamental advance in measurement capabilities that could result in substantial savings for semiconductor manufacturers has earned a 2013 R&D 100 Award for its inventors.






Frequency-Comb-Cavity_125How to Make a Compact Frequency Comb in Minutes

Laser frequency combs, high-precision tools for measuring different colors of light, are becoming essential to fields from medical diagnostics to atomic clocks. Now PML physicists can make the core of a miniature frequency comb in one minute.






Standard Reference Material 2088 makes it possible to link CAT scans to the International System of Units for the first timeNEW NIST Standard Reference Material to Help Calibrate Hospital CAT Scanners

A new standard reference material is the first to enable hospitals to link important tissue-density measurements made by CAT scans to international standards.



spinflip125'Hot Spot' for Quantum Information

Researchers at NIST and the Joint Quantum Institute, with colleagues in the Netherlands, have proposed and tested a technique that can initialize a quantum bit that is stored in a semiconductor double quantum dot.



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