National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Articles
Helping the microchip industry go with the flow
A new study by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has uncovered a source of error in an industry-standard calibration method that could lead microchip manufacturers to lose a million dollars or more in a single fabrication run. The problem is expected to become progressively more acute as chipmakers pack ever more features into ever smaller space.
NIST chip predicts the quantum sensors of the future
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created a chip on which laser light interacts with a tiny cloud of atoms to serve as a miniature toolkit for measuring quantities such as length with quantum precision. The design could be mass-produced with existing technology. As described in Optica, NIST's prototype chip was used to generate infrared light at a wavelength of 780nm, to be used as a length referen...
A map app to track stem cells
Researchers who work with stem cells have ambitious goals. Some want to cure cancer or treat heart disease. Others want to grow the tissues and organs that patients need for transplants. Some groups are even working to develop highly personalised medicines, tailored to an individual’s genetics. However, the development of measurement tools for stem cell production is challenging, making it hard to determine what makes various new stem cell-...
Superconducting switch could be key to artificial brains
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a superconducting switch that 'learns' like a biological system and could connect processors and store memories in future computers operating like the human brain. The NIST switch, described in Science Advances, is called a synapse, like its biological counterpart, and it supplies a missing piece for so-called neuromorphic computers.
3D quantum gas atomic clock offers new dimensions in measurement
JILA physicists have created an entirely new design for an atomic clock, in which strontium atoms are packed into a tiny 3D cube at 1,000 times the density of previous 1D clocks. In doing so, they are the first to harness the ultra-controlled behavior of a so-called “quantum gas” to make a practical measurement device. With so many atoms completely immobilised in place, JILA’s cubic quantum gas clock sets a r...
Testing the performance of semiconductors using light
To decide whether a new material has promise as a semiconductor or meets a manufacturer's specifications, companies need to be able to essentially count the number of freely moving "charge carriers" floating within the material, as well as their mobility or how easily they are able to move. Negative carriers are electrons; positive carriers are referred to as "holes" and are places where an electron is missing.
Light cools microscopic drum below quantum limit
Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have cooled a mechanical object to a temperature lower than previously thought possible, below the so-called "quantum limit." The NIST theory and experiments, described in Nature, showed that a microscopic mechanical drum—a vibrating aluminum membrane—could be cooled to less than one-fifth of a single quantum, or packet of energy, lower than ordinarily p...
Dual atomic clock sets another stability record
What could be better than a world-leading atomic clock? Two clocks in one. Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have combined two experimental atomic clocks based on ytterbium atoms to set yet another world record for clock stability. Stability can be thought of as how precisely the duration of each clock tick matches every other tick that comes before and after.
Building nontoxic gold wires onto flexible plastic film
A research team has come up with a way to build safe, nontoxic gold wires onto flexible, thin plastic film. Their demonstration potentially clears the path for a host of wearable electronic devices that monitor our health. The finding might overcome a basic issue confronting medical engineers: How to create electronics that are flexible enough to be worn comfortably on or even inside the human body - without exposing a person to harmful chem...
Digital thread sewn by test bed
Researchers at US Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have launched a Smart Manufacturing Systems (SMS) Test Bed. An innovative model factory, the test bed will facilitate the advanced manufacturing technology known as the 'digital thread' and help manufacturers cut costs, shorten production time, reduce errors and provide higher quality goods.
Drowning in passwords? You may be security fatigued
A recent study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on online activities found that more than half of participants experience ‘security fatigue’. Defined as a weariness or reluctance to deal with computer security, the results are worrying for today’s online generation.
Measurement system is consistent with the impending change
After it's all over, your lights will be just as bright, and your refrigerator just as cold. But very soon the ampere—the SI base unit of electrical current—will take on an entirely new identity, and NIST scientists are at work on an innovative, quantum-based measurement system that will be consistent with the impending change. It won't be a minute too soon. The ampere (A) has long been a sort of metrological embarrassment.
Atomic gyroscope is the "shrink ray" of the real world
Shrink rays may exist only in science fiction, but similar effects are at work in the real world at the NIST. After successfully miniaturising both clocks and magnetometers based on the properties of individual atoms, NIST physicists have now turned to precision gyroscopes, which measure rotation. The NIST team has demonstrated a compact atomic gyroscope design that could, with further development, be portable, low power, and accurate e...
An optical method of sorting nanoparticles by size
NIST scientists have devised and modelled a unique optical method of sorting microscopic and nanoscopic particles by size, with a resolution as fine as 1 nm for particles of similar composition. A stream of particles of various sizes enters the system at a single point, but the particles exit the system at different places, depending on their size. The process does not alter the particles in any way, so that those with dimensions of interest...
Material for polymer solar cells leads to large-area processing
Research results reported by an international team led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) indicate that the "sweet spot" for mass-producing polymer solar cells may be far larger than dictated by the conventional wisdom. In experiments using a mock-up of a high-volume, roll-to-roll processing method, the researchers produced polymer-based solar cells with a "power conversion efficiency" of better than 9.5%, just shy of th...
Making carbon nanotubes of consistent quality
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has devised a cheap, quick and effective strategy that reliably enhances the quality and consistency of the materials—important for using them effectively in applications such as new computing technologies. To prevent filling of the cores of single-wall carbon nanotubes with water or other detrimental substances, the NIST researchers advise intentionally prefilling them with a desire...
Measurement system replicated by chip maker
A highly sensitive measurement system for the performance of nanoscale magnetic devices, invented and developed at NIST, was successfully replicated recently by Intel Corporation, enhancing the company's ability to evaluate the tiny structures' suitability for use in future computing. Now scientists from Intel and Stanford University have published their first results from the NIST-model system in the Journal of Applied Physics.
Plastic manufacturing has reduced energy consumption
Research performed in part at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has revealed a way to reduce the energy demand in one key step of plastic manufacturing by using a class of materials that can filter impurities more efficiently than the conventional manufacturing process. The findings, published in the journal Science, show that materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) can effectively remove the contaminant acetylene...