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Surface and Nanostructure Metrology Group


The Surface and Nanostructure Metrology Group in the Semiconductor & Dimensional Metrology Division of the Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), establishes best-in-the-world SI-traceable length metrology for 3D nanostructures using high-throughput, non-destructive measurement methods with rigorous nanoscale reference metrology. We work closely with leading US semiconductor manufacturers, metrology tool manufacturers and consortia to provide new measurement solutions for critical defect and dimensional metrology needs. We develop the fundamental measurement science and data analysis methods in support of government and US manufacturing where surface roughness, form, and nano-structure topography are critical.

Activities include:

  • modeling for deep sub-wavelength optical metrology and scanned probe dynamics
  • applying advanced optical measurement methods and algorithms to create the forensic science underpinnings for ballistics and forensic topography
  • realizing new atomic scale metrology methods to support the advanced needs of U.S. microelectronic- and nano-manufacturing industries.
Surface and Nanostructure Metrology

Optical Methods for 3-D Nanostructure Metrology—We develop new approaches to optical microscopy and electromagnetic modeling to enable improved metrology of nanoscale structures with dimensions more than an order of magnitude below traditional …

Forensic Topography and Surface Metrology—We seek to build the scientific infrastructure for objective forensic firearm and toolmark identification by developing rigorous procedures to obtain quantitative uncertainty estimates for forensic …

Nano-Structured Optics and Optical Surface Metrology—Aspheric, free-form, and nano-structured surfaces are indispensable in high-performance optical systems. The ability to accurately manufacture these surfaces and achieve the required optical …

Atom-Based Dimensional Metrology—A primary goal of this project is to develop intrinsic calibration standards based on the crystalline lattice. The ultimate limit for nanoscale length metrology is the development of intrinsic …

Traceable Scanning Probe Nano-Characterization—Research and development of rigorously SI traceable nano-characterization instrumentation, measurements, and procedures to enable a fundamental understanding of scanning probe interaction and …


Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML)
Semiconductor & Dimensional Metrology Division

Surface & Nanostructure Metrology Group (683.02)
Dr. Richard M. Silver, Leader

General Information:
Myriam V. Parra, Secretary
301-975-4299 Telephone
301-975-4396 Facsimile

100 Bureau Drive, M/S 8212
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8212