NIST logo
Bookmark and Share

Plasma Metrology


Measurement techniques in support of commercial and scientific uses of plasmas.



Plasma, the fourth state of matter, is common in both nature (e.g., lightning, the earth’s ionosphere, stellar objects) and in modern technology (e.g., semiconductor processing, lighting, plasma televisions, medical equipment). Yet despite this ubiquity, the plasma state is still a wide open frontier, which we are struggling to understand and control. Plasmas are richly complex, encompassing an incredible diversity of linear and non-linear phenomena including atomic collisions, electromagnetic interactions, fluid dynamics, collective excitations, thermodynamics, chemical reactions, and radiation transport. The term "meso-scopic" is often used to describe the intertwining of microscopic and macroscopic phenomena in plasmas that simultaneously span a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. This complexity presents a scientific and engineering challenge, but it also opens opportunities to achieve properties and performance that may not be achieved with other states of matter.

End Date:


Lead Organizational Unit:


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