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This Just In! (Archives) 

(Please note, several links below are not NIST websites. NIST does not necessarily endorse the views expressed or the facts presented on these sites. Further, NIST does not endorse any commercial products that may be advertised or available on these sites.)


Taylor Takes the Prize

Jake Taylor and Katharine Gebbie

Jake Taylor and Katharine Gebbie

Jake Taylor of PML and JQI is the winner of the 2014 Young Scientist Prize in Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physics from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP). The Prize includes a medal, a 1000 EURO award, and an invited presentation at an IUPAP sponsored conference.

To be considered, candidates must have made “original and outstanding contributions to the field of AMO Physics” and have had no more than 8 years of research experience following a PhD.

Taylor has received numerous awards including the Service to America: Call to Service Medal and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He completed his PhD with Mikhail Lukin at Harvard University and his postdoctoral work at MIT. He is currently a JQI Fellow as well as Co-Director of the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS), a cooperation between NIST and the University of Maryland.








Gordie Shaw
Gordon Shaw

Honors for Shaw

Gordon Shaw, a PML research chemist, has been selected to receive the 2015 JSA Young Investigator Award given by the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM). This award “recognizes an SEM Member in early to mid-career who demonstrates considerable potential in the field of experimental mechanics.”

According to the chair of the SEM Honors Committee, Shaw’s selection is “a well-deserved public statement by [his] professional peers of the quality and impact of the contributions that [he] has made thus far” in his career.

Shaw will deliver the JSA Young Investigator lecture during the SEM Conference and Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics in Costa Mesa, CA, next June.








SEED students
From L to R: Alejandra Torres-Diaz (SHIP), Khazar Choudhry (SEED), Michaela Berger (SEED), Arec Jamgochian (SURF), and Zeeshan Ahmed (NIST)

Ground-breaking Number of SEED Students Grows Future Crop of Chemists

The Chemical Society of Washington’s (CSW) Project SEED recently wrapped up a record-breaking summer in which it supported the highest number of economically disadvantaged high school students in its history: 20 teenagers from DC, VA, and MD schools. PML’s Zeeshan Ahmed mentored two of these students at NIST: Michaela Berger of Rockville High School and Khazar Choudhry of Poolesville High School.

Under the Project SEED program, high school students participate in a chemistry-related scientific research project under the direct supervision of a mentor for a period of 8 weeks during the summer at academic, industrial, or governmental institutions.







Schematic diagram of a 3D stacked integrated circuit, achieved using copper through-silicon via interconnects
Schematic diagram of a 3D stacked integrated circuit, achieved using copper through-silicon via interconnects.
NIST Recognized for 3D-IC Research

Chukwudi Okoro, a guest researcher in PML’s Semiconductor and Dimensional Metrology Division, and Lyle Levine from NIST’s Material Measurement Laboratory were recently recognized for their efforts in teaming with scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and SEMATECH to uncover a new understanding of the behavior of three-dimensional (stacked) integrated circuits. Specifically, the team learned how thermal cycling can lead to stresses and failure in the vertical copper interconnects (called “through-silicon vias, TSVs”) that connect each layer within the stack.

The paper detailing these results, based on research at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), has been selected, by the management of the APS sector where the work was done, as one of the outstanding recent results from those beamlines. The research team’s efforts are highlighted in a recent article from the APS.





Foss-Feig’s Physics Trifecta

NIST theoretical physicist Michael Foss-Feig hit a physics trifecta in July 2014 when he co-authored papers published in Science, Nature, and Physical Review Letters in the course of nine days.

"Michael is an incredibly productive and versatile physicist, who has initiated collaborations with others at NIST both in Gaithersburg and Boulder, CO, and with colleagues at the Joint Quantum Institute," said his supervisor Charles Clark, of the Quantum Measurement Division. “I decided he deserved eight hours annual leave to get married in August.”

An accessible account of the first two studies can be found at http://jqi.umd.edu/news/making-quantum-connections, and of the third at https://jila.colorado.edu/news-highlights/little-shop-atoms.


Shakarji and Srinivasan
From left to right: Joshua Summers (Chair of the ASME Computers & Information in Engineering Division), Craig Shakarji, and Vijay Srinivasan

Best in Show

Craig Shakarji of PML and Vijay Srinivasan of EL won a best paper award at the August 2014 Computers & Information in Engineering Conference in Buffalo, NY. Of all the papers submitted to the conference, 143 were accepted for publication and presentation and of those, six were chosen for best paper awards.

The paper was titled "An improved L1 based algorithm for standardized planar datum establishment."









Trey Porto
Trey Porto

Cool Public Presentation

Trey Porto of the Quantum Measurement Division discussed supercold atoms this summer as a speaker in the DC Science Café series, designed to bring science to the public.

His talk, “Exotic Tales from the Coldest Place in the Universe,” took place at the Busboys and Poets restaurant in downtown DC on June 24. After his presentation, he answered audience questions for an hour.






Jin and Newton
Debbie Jin
Deborah Jin

Deborah Jin of PML and JILA has won the Isaac Newton Medal from the UK’s Institute of Physics – the most prestigious award from the UK’s premier physics professional organization. Jin was recognized for "pioneering the field of quantum-degenerate Fermi gases."

A Fermi condensate is “very different from the Bose Einstein condensate created by Debbie’s NIST/JILA colleagues in 1995, and leading to the 2001 Nobel Prize,” says Tom O’Brian, Chief of PML’s Time and Frequency and Quantum Physics Divisions. “Most physicists consider the Fermi condensate an even more challenging breakthrough than the BEC. Debbie and her colleagues are using the Fermi condensate as a powerful tool to study complex phenomena such as quantum magnetism that could lead to new, much more powerful forms of data storage and computation.”







Muhammad Arif
Muhammad Arif
Arif Named NIST Fellow

Muhammad Arif, Leader of the Neutron Physics Group in the Radiation Physics Division, has been named a NIST Fellow.

This honor is granted to recognize scientific and technical staff members who operate at the highest level of achievement and impact in contributing to the NIST mission, are visionary scientific/technical leaders, provide high-quality programmatic input/advice to NIST management, mentor other NIST technical staff, and motivate and inspire other NIST staff.









Jun Ye
Jun Ye
Influential Minds

Three NIST scientists were named as among the top 144 “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” in Physics over the past decade by Thomson Reuters, a company that provides scientific publication and analysis services among other products: Debbie Jin and Jun Ye of NIST and JILA, and Jeffrey Lynn of the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR).

Thomson Reuters analyzed how many times papers written by scientists across the world were cited by other researchers in the period 2002 through 2012. Jin, Ye and Lynn were among the top 144 physicists across the entire world in terms of how frequently their published work was cited, reflecting the deep impact and influence of their NIST research and measurements.







David Wineland
David Wineland
Presidential Rank

Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker has announced the finalists for the Department of Commerce’s 2013 Presidential Rank Award, the most prestigious award given to senior executives and senior professionals. Debbie Jin of PML/JILA and Dave Wineland of the Time and Frequency Division were cited as distinguished finalists. Robert Celotta, Director of the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and George Arnold, Director of NIST’s Standards Coordination Office, were named meritorious finalists.

The finalists’ “achievements, hard work, and dedication distinguish them as inspiring examples of professionalism in government,” Pritzker said in making the announcement.







Ana Maria Rey
Ana Maria Rey Image: JILA 
Rey Honored

Ana Maria Rey of NIST and JILA has been named the “Early Career Hispanic Scientist of the Year” by the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry, which has sponsored the “National Hispanic Scientist of the Year” awards for 14 years.

Rey is recognized as one of the top young theoretical physicists in the world, and her new theories have led directly to the world’s two best atomic clocks (at NIST and JILA), to new ways of using ultracold atomic gases to study superconductivity and quantum computing, and to the world’s first human-controlled chemical reactions based on ultracold atoms.








Carol Hockert
Carol Hockert
Hockert Wins Wildhack

Carol Hockert, Chief of the NIST Office of Weights and Measures, received the 2014 National Conference of Standards Laboratories International (NCSLI) 2014 William A. Wildhack Award during the opening session of the NCSLI Workshop and Symposium in Orlando, FL. The award is given to recognize outstanding contributions to the field of metrology.

Hockert is nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in both the legal metrology community and in the NCSLI organization where she has held numerous positions including President in 2008.








No Longer Pending

NIST researchers have been granted U.S. Patent 8,816,296 for “Noble-gas-excimer detectors of slow neutrons.” The inventors are Charles Clark, Patrick Hughes, Alan Keith Thompson, and Rob Vest of PML’s Radiation Physics Division, and Michael Alan Coplan of the University of Maryland.

For information on this area of research, see the PML news report.


Great Coverage

Featured photo on PRB homepage
Photo featured on Physical Review B homepage

It’s not unusual for the work of PML researchers to get high visibility. But the summer of 2014 was particularly notable: Images supplied by NIST appeared on the covers of three different journals.

The cover photo for the July issue of Physics Today showed the new, fourth-generation NIST Watt Balance, presently under construction, that is expected to provide NIST and the nation with mass traceability after the planned redefinition of the SI units in 2018. The instrument is slated to begin realizing the "electronic kilogram" at some time during 2015. The cover picture is associated with an article on the planned redefinition written by physicist David Newell of NIST’s Quantum Measurement Division.

SRN cover
Cover of July-August edition of Synchrotron Radiation News

Also in July, a figure produced by PML scientists was chosen for display on the home page of the Physical Review B website in the journal’s “Kaleidoscope” collection of scientific images that are both arresting and informational. The associated paper, by investigators in the Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division, is titled “Tunable-cavity QED with phase qubits.”

Finally, the cover of the July-August edition of Synchrotron Radiation News features a photo of a transition-edge sensor detector array, developed by scientists in PML’s Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division and installed at the NIST-owned beamline U7A at the National Synchrotron Light Source. The associated paper by Joel Ullom and colleagues is titled “Transition-Edge Sensor Microcalorimeters for X-ray Beamline Science.”







Rocky Mountain Eagle Award Winners 

Rocky Mountain Eagle Winners

L-R: Tom O’Brian, chief of NIST’s Time & Frequency Division and Quantum Physics Division, with award winners Chris Oates, Jun Ye, and Andrew Ludlow. Photo: Ryan Masterson.

On May Three physicists – Chris Oates, Jun Ye, and Andrew Ludlow of PML’s optical atomic clock team – received the Rocky Mountain Eagle Award for Scientific Project or Achievement. The annual awards, given by the Colorado Federal Executive Board, are one of the most important forms of non-monetary recognition available to federal government employees within the State of Colorado. They are intended to provide the opportunity to communicate to the public the outstanding achievements of federal employees who have dedicated their careers to public service.NIST research groups at JILA and NIST-Boulder have been pursuing next generation optical atomic clocks based upon lasers whose frequencies are locked to ultra-narrow transitions in large samples of neutral atoms held in laser traps, termed “optical lattices”. The group at JILA, led by Ye, has demonstrated unprecedented clock performance with strontium atoms; the team at NIST-Boulder, led by Ludlow and Oates, has reached new levels of atomic clock precision using ytterbium atoms. Recent results by these groups have considerably advanced atomic clock performance and could one day lead to a new definition of the second. The award winners share “family” roots: They all performed their Ph. D. thesis experiments in the same room at the University of Colorado (Ye and Oates under the guidance of NIST Nobel Laureate John Hall; and Ludlow, some years later, under the guidance of Ye).





Hendricks with VSTD members

Jay Hendricks (center, with jacket and red tie) and other VSTD members in Trento, Italy.

Hendricks Chairs Vacuum Division

Jay Hendricks of the Sensor Science Division’s Thermodynamic Metrology Group has been elected chair of the Vacuum Science and Technology Division (VSTD) within the International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications (IUVSTA). IUVSTA is an international federation of national vacuum organizations and represents nearly 15,000 physicists, chemists, materials scientists, engineers, and technologists who are active in basic and applied research, development, manufacturing, and education. As chair, Hendricks represents the vacuum technology divisions of 28 nations.



Wineland Honored by ARCS

Dave Wineland with Ann Brown, ARCS Colorado Chapter President. Photo courtesy of Ann Brown, ARCS.
Nobelist Dave Wineland was the 2014 honoree at a gala held by the ARCS Foundation’s Colorado Chapter. (ARCS stands for Achievement Rewards for College Scientists.) The event, which included a lecture by Wineland, was held at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on May 2, 2014.




OWM Al Sur

Carol Medellin
OWM head Carol Hockert addresses the audience.

Carol Hockert and Georgia Harris of the Office of Weights and Measures (OWM) presented a two-day training workshop on “Fundamentals of Metrology and Testing” in Medellin, Colombia on May 6 - 7. The workshop was originally planned for 20 participants. A month prior to the session, Hockert and Harris were asked if they could provide the course to 30, with a waiting list of 20. On arrival, they found that there would be 80 participants in the course, which included simultaneous translations. Course content was extracted from OWM’s “Fundamentals of Metrology” course and several of the OWM webinars, and instruction focused on ensuring and assessing metrological traceability in measurement results. Participants brought their own calibration certificates and found numerous problems. 

After the workshop, Hockert and Harris presented at the “First International Congress for Legal, Biomedical, and Industrial Metrology” on May 8 - 9 for about 350 people on the following five topics: The U.S. Approach to Legal Metrology, Quality Tools for Metrology, Mass and Balances for Legal Metrology, Volume Calibrations for Legal Metrology, and Assessments of Traceability and Proficiency.

Training and presentations were all provided by request and subsidized by the Metrology Congress.


Chalres Tilford
Tilford Heads to Portrait Gallery

Veteran PML researcher Charles Tilford has been selected for inclusion in the NIST Portrait Gallery. Tilford, who worked at NBS/NIST from 1970 to 1997, is honored for “outstanding technical contributions and leadership as a pre-eminent research scientist and leader for NBS/NIST for best in the world pressure and vacuum standards. His research led to the development of the NIST ultrasonic interferometer manometers (UIMs) and established NIST as a world leader in low pressure and vacuum standards.”

Tilford was recommended by the Standards Alumni Association (SAA) Portrait Jury, and approved by the NIST Director. His portrait will be added on October 10, 2014, at a reception and ceremony for the honorees.

Phillips at RIT

PML roving ambassador Bill Phillips of the Quantum Measurement Division’s Laser Cooling and Trapping Group delivered the commencement address at the Rochester Institute of Technology on May 23, 2014.

Child and mother in thermometry lab

Daughters and Sons

Staff from all PML divisions participated actively in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day on April 24, 2014. Shown here is Mackenzie Lellock, accompanied by mother Karen (at right) in the Thermometry Lab receiving a tutorial about digital data collection and measuring ice points.





fox kits
Foxes on NIST Gaithersburg campus.
Report from the Foxhole

The NIST Gaithersburg, MD campus is home to a wide range of wildlife, and sightings vary by season. This spring, mechanical engineer Jodie Pope of the Sensor Science Division’s Fluid Metrology Group began observing and documenting the arrival of a mother fox and her numerous pups, who took over a hole said to be formerly occupied by a groundhog. The photo at left is but one of many taken by Pope.

In addition, she has produced a short video of the pups playing. It can be seen on YouTube.



Joe Dehmer and Dave Seiler
Joe Dehmer (left) and Dave Seiler
PML at the Frontier

Numerous members of PML staff were actively involved in the Industrial Physics Forum (IPF) held Mar. 4 – 6, 2014 in conjunction with the March 2014 American Physical Society Meeting in Denver. The theme was “Frontiers of Industrial and Applied Physics.”

PML Lab Director Joe Dehmer gave a talk titled “Advances in Measurement Technology at NIST’s Physical Measurement Laboratory.” Dave Seiler, Chief of the Semiconductor and Dimensional Metrology Division, who headed the IPF program planning committee, chaired the session on "Industrial Innovation: An Intersection Among Industry, Academia and Government,” and spoke at that session.

Bob Hickernell, Chief of the Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division, chaired a session on "Physics and Industrial Applications of Optoelectronics." And at the Frontiers in Physics session, Johannes Hubmayr of the Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division spoke on “Probing the Last 13.8 Billion Years in the Universe with the Atacama Cosmology Telescope.”

American Vacuum Society Mid-AtlanticAVS Mid-Atlantic Comes to NIST

Jay Hendricks of the Sensor Science Division is co-organizing the regional meeting of the American Vacuum Society’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter, which will be held on NIST’s Gaithersburg campus on May 15, 2014. The theme is “Interesting Applications of Surface Science,” and the event will feature four invited talks on studies of cosmic dust, scanning tunneling microscopy, high polarization photocathodes, and charge separation in organic photovoltaics – two of them by NIST scientists. Registration is free, but required. The deadline is May 8. To register for the event, send e-mail to jay.hendricks@nist.gov.

attendees at incubator meeting
Group photo from incubator meeting.


Incubation Period

Jake Taylor of the Quantum Measurement Division and Mohammad Hafezi of the Joint Quantum Institute served as co-organizers for an Optical Society of America (OSA) Incubator Meeting on the subject of “Topological Order with Photons.”

The event was held at the OSA headquarters in Washington, DC from April 2-4, 2014, and featured 16 speakers from locations around the world.

From the meeting description:

"Topological properties play a fundamental role in many physical phenomena. The best known examples are quantum Hall systems, where insensitivity to local properties manifests itself as conductance through edge states that is insensitive to disorder. While the traditional research focus has been on electronic systems, there has been a recent emergence of interest in exploring topological orders with photons.

"The motivation behind these efforts has been twofold: investigating new states of photons in the context of quantum simulation; and developing integrated photonic devices which are robust to disorder. Recent experiments have demonstrated substantial progress towards the implementation of Hamiltonians with topological robustness, from microwave to visible frequency domains."

Measurement Science Conference Class PhotoClass Act

Representatives from PML taught classes at Measurement Science Conference (MSC) held in Long Beach, CA. The two-day “Pressure and Vacuum Measurement” class taught by Jay Hendricks (top right in photo) and Doug Olson (top left) included lectures and hands-on demonstration of pressure and vacuum measurement equipment calibration techniques. 

Students attending the class were from biomedical and aerospace concerns, state government, and national laboratories. NIST seminars at the MSC conference (coordinated by Greg Strouse, Leader of the Thermodynamic Metrology Group) are part of NIST’s metrology outreach to calibration customers and stakeholders.


Can CMOS Be Saved?

Rick Silver and Bryan Barnes of the Semiconductor and Dimensional Metrology Division, along with Joseph Kline of NIST’s Materials Science and Engineering Division, chaired a session at SPIE’s Advanced Lithography conference held Feb. 23 – 27 in San Jose, CA.

The session, titled “Nanotechnology in Microlithography: Extending the End of CMOS Through Nanotechnology,” featured a panel of experts who shared their insights on the topic. Silver and Barnes also spoke at various events during the conference, and Silver co-chaired a session titled “Metrology, Inspection, and Process Control for Microlithography.”


logo for quantum physics courseQuantum Course Goes Global . . . Again

"Exploring Quantum Physics," an open online course taught by Joint Quantum Institute Fellows Victor Galitski and Charles Clark of PML’s Quantum Measurement Division, began its third edition on Monday, April 7, 2014. The course is available free worldwide at https://www.coursera.org/course/eqp

Over 30,000 students have actively participated in the first two editions of "Exploring Quantum Physics," with 1500 obtaining certificates of completion. Pitched at the advanced undergraduate/beginning graduate level, the course features readings of original scientific literature (such as Albert Einstein's 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect) and lectures and exercises motivated by recent physics research. The third edition includes new material on magnetism and gauge potentials, which are topics of current research interest at JQI.

Outreach Galore

♦ A group of undergraduate honors students from the University of Maryland’s (UMD) Gemstone Program visited NIST on April 25, 2014 and gave a seminar on “Investigation of Blast Wave Propagation: Correlating External Pressures to Brain Injury Predictors.”

The title of their project is BLAST (Blast Localization and Sensing Technology). Advised by UMD mechanical engineering professor Miao Yu, and using pressure sensors and electronics provided by PML’s Thermodynamic Metrology Group, the students are studying the effects of IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) explosions on soldiers' health – and specifically how the brain is affected by the damaging pressure waves generated by these devices.

The research was conducted in conjunction with a PML-UMD partnership effort. PML’s Doug Olson says that “the collaboration we have with UMD includes the work done by the students, as an application for our standards and sensor development work. The link between the students and NIST is through Prof. Yu and a postdoc, Haijun Liu, who is a Guest Researcher at NIST and works for Prof. Yu.”

♦ Mid-April marked the annual visit by students and faculty at Butler County (PA) Community College (BC3) to the Semiconductor and Dimensional Metrology Division. “Usually they help with my internal quality audit,” says Ted Doiron, who hosts the group, “but this year they came to help me develop a class in dimensional metrology.

“This program is probably unique and has been going on for years. It started with an occasional visit by students but took a more serious turn. My division has four graduates from their program on staff, three of whom continued their school work to earn bachelor degrees over the years. BC3 has had a 100 % job placement rate for a number of years. Working with the school has been a rewarding and productive experience for all involved.”

Bill Phillips, who often serves as NIST/PML roving outreach ambassador, visited Canada from April 2 – 4, 2014. He gave colloquia in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, and a public lecture in Victoria. 


James OlthoffMeasuring Up

PML Deputy Director Jim Olthoff has received the Woodington Award for Professionalism in Metrology. Since its inception in 1978, the Measurement Science Conference (MSC) presents the annual award “to recognize a member of the Measurement Community who represents the highest level of professionalism and dedication to the Metrology Profession.” Olthoff received the award “in recognition of his outstanding contributions, commitment and leadership to measurement science” at the 2014 MSC, March 10-14 in Long Beach, CA.









Michael MoldoverAcoustic Thermometry Still Hot

Mike Moldover, leader of the Fluid Metrology Group in the Sensor Science Division, is the first author of a definitive review paper titled “Acoustic Gas Thermometry” currently highlighted on the home page of Metrologia. Moldover and co-authors from the National Metrology Laboratories of France, England, Italy, and China review the principles, techniques and results from primary acoustic gas thermometry. The paper is available on-line at no cost to non-subscribers for the next three months.“NIST invented acoustic thermometry based on metal-walled cavities that act as simultaneous acoustic and microwave resonators,” Moldover says. “This is the most accurate technique for determining the thermodynamic temperature and for measuring the Boltzmann constant.”







PML/NIST Host Tenth International Nanotechnology Conference on Communication and Cooperation

The Tenth International Nanotechnology Conference on Communication and Cooperation, INC10, will be hosted at the NIST Gaithersburg campus on May 13-15, 2014. The event is co-organized by David Seiler, chief of PML’s Semiconductor and Dimensional Metrology Division and a member of the INC10 U.S. executive committee. Early bird registration closes April 9, regular registration closes May 5. Registration is available on-line.

The INC10 offers opportunities to learn about exciting advances in nanotechnology and nanoelectronics from leaders in the field as well as network with industry experts. The INC vision is to foster international communication and cooperation on nanotechnology and particularly on nanoelectronics between industry, academic and government partners to advance innovation in computer, communications, electronics, and related industries. Global science and technology trends and overviews of major regional funding programs will be presented from Europe, Japan and the United States that address scientific and societal challenges, and that support sustainable technological and economic growth. The invited sessions include Nanoelectronics (Material and Devices, Heterogeneous Integration), Bioelectronics/Medical Breakthroughs/ Sensors, Clean/Green Energy, and Revolutionary Future Perspectives.


Top Spot for AMO

JILA logoIn this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings, the number-1 school for graduate study in the highly competitive field of atomic, molecular, and optical (AMO) physics is the University of Colorado – Boulder. That is, of course, the location of JILA, a joint institute of NIST and CU. CU was tied with MIT in the last ranking but this year surged ahead to occupy the top spot alone.


JQI logoThe University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) placed sixth in the national AMO rankings, ahead of Caltech, Rice, Cornell, and the University of Chicago, among others. UMD is the home of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership of NIST and the university.








Helping the Best Teachers to Teach

Charles Clark of the Quantum Measurement Division represented the Optical Society of America (OSA) at a March gathering in honor of recent recipients of the U.S. Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). The event was titled “How physics disciplinary societies can support teacher preparation and professional development.” An OSA news announcement reports that Clark, an OSA Fellow, “spoke to the awardees about the society’s resources available to educators, including OSA’s award-winning educational website Optics4Kids.org, the classroom kits, educational DVDs and more.”


Reviewing Reviewers

Yuri Ralchenko, leader of the Atomic Spectroscopy Group in the Quantum Measurement Division, was named one of the most valued reviewers in 2013 by the Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer and was awarded a "Certificate of Excellence in Reviewing." The journal covers various subjects related to theoretical and experimental spectroscopy of atoms, molecules, and plasmas, electromagnetic and light scattering, radiation transfer in diverse environments, and various applications of spectroscopy.




Ohno Honored for Vision

Yoshi Ohno and James Brodrick at Wards Ceremony
Yoshi Ohno (right) with James Brodrick, Lighting Program manager for DOE's Building Technologies Office.
On January 29, Yoshi Ohno was named as the first recipient of the newly created DOE SSL Visionary Award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solid-State Lighting Program for “Contributions to the Field of Color Science.”

Ohno, a long-recognized leader within the Sensor Science Division’s Optical Radiation Group, was honored for “many contributions to the advancement of solid state lighting. From the very beginning of the SSL revolution, Yoshi and his team at NIST performed critical research on photometry and colorimetry related to SSL sources.

"Through the course of their research, Yoshi and his team contributed to the development of a vast number of LED standards in a record amount of time. This paved the way to a more rapid and orderly introduction of SSL products to the marketplace.”

Ohno received the award at the 2014 DOE SSL R&D Workshop in Tampa, FL.







Jim Olthoff
Jim Olthoff
Keynote of Note

PML Deputy Director Jim Olthoff will give the Thursday, March 13 keynote address at the upcoming Measurement Science Conference in Long Beach, CA. Title: “Advancing Measurement Science to Support Manufacturing Competitiveness”









Sharing Knowledge in Tutorials

Ron Ginley, Greg Scace, and Dawn Cross served as instructors in the Technical Exchange Program tutorials at the February 5-6 NCSLI regional meeting in Raleigh, NC.

Ginley, leader of the Radio-Frequency Electronics Group in the Electromagnetics Division, explained Microwave Measurement Basics: Cable Maintenance.

Scace, an engineer in the Thermodynamic Metrology Group in the Sensor Science Division, spoke at the Humidity Calibration Tutorial.

Cross, a technician in the Thermodynamic Metrology Group, conducted a session on Thermodynamics – Replacing LIG (Liquid-in-Glass) Thermometers.




Academy Award

Deborah Jin
NIST fellow and JILA scientist Deborah Jin has been awarded the 2014 Comstock Prize in Physics from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). For the official NAS announcement, click here.

NAS awards the Comstock Prize approximately every five years to "recognize a North American resident for a recent innovative discovery or investigation in electricity, magnetism, or radiant energy." The prize has been awarded 20 times since 1913 (first recipient: Robert Millikan), and previous winners include John N. Bahcall (2004), Leon N. Cooper and J. Robert Schrieffer (1968), Charles H. Townes (1958), William Shockley (1953), Ernest O. Lawrence (1938), Percy W. Bridgman (1933), and Clinton J. Davisson (1928).

The NAS announcement states that "Jin is being honored for landmark experiments that demonstrated quantum degeneracy and the formation of a molecular Bose-Einstein condensate in fermionic atomic gases cooled to less than 100 billionths of a degree above zero using magnetic traps and lasers."

The prize will be presented at the NAS annual meeting in DC on April 27, 2014.



PECASE Winners

Two PML researchers – Gretchen Campbell of the Quantum Measurement Division and Ana Maria Rey of JILA – have been selected for the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Also chosen for a PECASE award is R. Joseph Kline of the NIST Material Measurement Laboratory's Materials Science and Engineering Division.


Gretchen Campbell (l) and Ana Maria Rey. Rey photo credit: NSF/Casey Cass

In announcing the 102 recipients for 2013, President Obama said that "the impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead. We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America's global leadership for many years to come."

The PECASE awards embody the high priority the Obama Administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the Nation's goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy.

The winners will receive their awards at a Washington, D.C., ceremony in the coming year. For more information on the award and winners, read the full announcement here.

Back to the Future

Elizabeth Goldschmidt
Elizabeth A. Goldschmidt, a former University of Maryland graduate student, successfully defended her dissertation, "Non-Classical Light for Quantum Information," last month. Her thesis advisors were Alan Migdall of the Quantum Measurement Division and Steve Rolston, UMD professor of physics and co-chair of the Joint Quantum Institute. Since then, she has been awarded a NIST/NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateship, and has begun working with Trey Porto in the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group.






Coursework at MSC

Many PML researchers will be giving presentations as part of the NIST program of one-, two-, and three-day seminars at the upcoming Measurement Science Conference in Long Beach (March 10-14). They are:

Jay Hendricks, Dawn Cross, Doug Olson, Karen Garrity, and Michal Chojnacky of the Thermodynamic Metrology Group;Aaron Johnson and John Wright of the Fluid Metrology Group; and Georgia Harris of the Office of Weights and Measures.

On, Wisconsin

Alejandra Torres, an American Chemical Society summer student who worked with Zeeshan Ahmed last summer, has received a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Longer Longevity

The invited review article titled "Single-photon sources and detectors," by Alan Migdall and colleagues in the Quantum Optics Group, appeared in the American Institute of Physics' Review of Scientific Instruments in July of 2011. As of this month, it is among that journal's three most-read papers. Again.

A Couple of Fine Fellows

photo of Konrad Lehnert
Konrad Lehnert
Konrad Lehnert of the Quantum Physics Division (JILA) has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. APS Fellows are selected by their peers based on outstanding contributions to physics. Fellowship is limited to no more than 0.5% of APS membership.

Lehnert was cited “for developing experimental methods that enable the quantum control and measurement of micro-mechanical oscillators and for developing practical microwave amplifiers that operate at the quantum limit.”

Division Chief Tom O’Brian says: “Konrad joined NIST and JILA in December 2005, elected to JILA Fellowship in recognition of his potential to bring nanoscience expertise to JILA in collaboration with more traditional JILA AMO strengths. Konrad has succeeded wonderfully, leading a continually growing and evolving program coupling micromechanical oscillators and electromagnetic fields advanced by Konrad’s unique “noiseless” microwave amplifiers, with impacts in quantum information, precision metrology, and many other areas.”

In related news, Dave Wineland has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), a relatively new organization, founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors working at universities and non-profit research organizations. He is the named inventor on only one patent -- US4146848 A (granted 1979) for a frequency stabilization technique in atomic/molecular beam devices such as atomic clocks, but the honor has a broader scope:

Wineland and the other 142 new Fellows in the 2013 class were “nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation,” according to the NAI announcement.


Old Hands on Deck

PML researchers Paul Hale of the Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division, and Ron Ginley, Dylan Williams, and Tom Crowley of the Electromagnetics Division, served as instructors at the recent two-day ARFTG-NIST Short Course on Microwave Measurements held in Columbus, OH. The Automatic RF Techniques Group (ARFTG) is a technical organization interested in all aspects of RF and Microwave test and measurement, and the course was intended for engineers, graduate students, experienced technicians, and technical managers.


Outstanding Coverage

computer graphics illustrating topological edge states of lightThe striking cover image (shown at right) for the December, 2013 issue of Nature Photonics – created by Emily Edwards, Director of Outreach at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) – illustrates results of a milestone paper in that journal on topological edge states of light by Mohammad Hafezi, Sinil Mittal, Jingyun Fan, Alan Migdall, and Jake Taylor of the Quantum Optics Group and JQI.



Under Pressure at AVS

winner of student poster competition
Zhaozhu Li and Jay Hendricks
Jay Hendricks of the Thermodynamic Metrology Group served as Student Poster Coordinator for the American Vacuum Society’s Vacuum Technology Division at this year’s 60th AVS International Symposium and Exhibition in Long Beach, CA. He is shown here at the meeting with Zhaozhu Li, who won the Vacuum Technology Division Student Presenter Award for her top-ranked presentation entitled “Photocathode Materials Able to Sustain High Currents.”

David Nesbitt signs the AAAS member book
David Nesbitt signs in. Image: American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Joining the Academy

Two PML/Boulder researchers have been inducted into the 2013 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: David Nesbitt of the Quantum Physics Division, and David Wineland of the Time and Frequency Division. “The Induction Ceremony recognizes the achievement and vitality of today’s most accomplished individuals who together with the Academy will work to advance the greater good,” said Academy Secretary Jerrold Meinwald. “These distinguished men and women are making significant strides in their quest to find solutions to the most pressing scientific, humanistic, and policy challenges of the day.”

Gaitan to Hall of Fame

Alissa Fitzgerald and Michael Gaitan
Gaitan with co-inductee Alissa Fitzgerald. Image: MEMS Industry Group
Michael Gaitan of the Semiconductor and Dimensional Metrology Division was inducted into the MEMS Industry Group's Hall of Fame "for outstanding performance and lasting contribution to the MEMS Industry Group." 

Gaitan chairs the MEMS Technology Working Group, which publishes its annual MEMS Technology Roadmap by the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative and the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, and works in developing industrial consensus for the need of standard measurement protocols for device calibration and testing. These efforts have resulted in the recent publication of the "Standardized Sensor Performance Definitions" terminology document by the MEMS Industry Group and the imminent formation of a new IEEE Standards Committee on device characterization measurement standards.






By the Book

physics book coverFour scientists from the Quantum Optics Group in the Quantum Measurement Division – group leader Alan Migdall, Sergey Polyakov, Jingyun Fan, and Joshua Bienfang  – are the editors of a forthcoming book, Single-Photon Generation and Detection: Physics and Applications, Volume 44 in the series Experimental Methods in the Physical Sciences. 

To be published next month by Elsevier's Academic Press, the book “is designed to cover the full range of single photon technology,” Migdall says, “an overview of all the technologies out there for both sources and detectors. We have given enough depth in each so that someone could use this book as guide to the best solution to their single photon application.”

Tom Lucatorto and Albert Parr of the Sensor Science Division served as treatise editors for the volume.


Rocky Mountain High (Impact)

A team from the Time and Frequency Division’s Atomic Devices and Instrumentation Group has received a 2013 [Colorado] Governor's Award for High-Impact Research, which “celebrate the achievements of Colorado's outstanding federal research scientists.” 

John Kitching, Svenja Knappe, and Elizabeth Donley (the “NIST Chip-Scale Atomic Device Team”) were honored "for their work in Foundational Technology for their research and development program for ultraminiature devices. Their work brings the precision associated with atomic clocks to a wide range of applications, from time-keeping to magnetometry to medical imaging. The team demonstrates extraordinary scientific leadership, innovation, and people leadership in combining the diverse technical fields of laser physics, atomic physics, and microelectromechnical systems (MEMS) to pioneer new measurement science and technologies.”


Patent Not Pending

U.S. Patent number 8,543,356 – Low cost multi-channel data acquisition system, invented by Alan Migdall and Sergey Polyakov of the Quantum Optics Group, and Sae Woo Nam of the Quantum Electronics and Photonics Group – has been issued and assigned to NIST.

From the patent abstract: “Embodiments of the present invention provide an inexpensive and fast pulse characterization platform capable of real time operation, suitable for acquisition of single-photon data. Embodiments of the present invention include both a digital multi-channel data acquisition instrument and an analog pulse acquisition instrument suitable for a wide range of applications in physics laboratories. An FPGA performs multi-channel acquisition in real time, time stamps single events, and determines if the events fit a predetermined signature, which causes the events to be categorized as a coincidence. The indications of coincidences are then communicated to a host computer for further processing as desired.”


By Invitation Only

A special invited issue of The Bulletin of the Materials Research Society (October 2013) is devoted to “Materials issues for quantum computation.” It features an article titled “Surface science for improved ion traps” and written by researchers from the Time and Frequency Division and the Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division: Dustin Hite, Yves Colombe, Andrew C. Wilson, David Allcock, Dietrich Leibfried, David Wineland, and David Pappas.

Annual NRI Review Completed 


Map showing the geographic distribution of universities associated with the three new NIST-NRI multi-university research centers. Each lead university -- Univ. Nebraska-Lincoln, SUNY-Albany, and UT-Austin -- is indicated by a colored star with connecting lines to associated universities.

The NRI (Nanoelectronics Research Initiative) Annual Review, held October 22 -24 in Rockville, MD, was an upbeat affair, with all three NIST-NRI multi-university research centers presenting exciting new technical results obtained in their first seven months of operation. The Center for NanoFerroic Devices (CNFD) reported advances in magnetoelectric and ferroelectric materials and device structures -- advances toward combining the functions of logic and non-volatile memory in a single low-power device. The Southwest Academy of Nanoelectronics (SWAN) and the Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery and Exploration (INDEX) reported complimentary advances in graphene materials and device structures -- advances supporting the development of new devices for fast, ultra-low-power digital logic. Another highlight of the review was the Device Performance Benchmarking Workshop, which included a free-wheeling discussion of additional metrics and methodologies for an expanded assessment of exploratory device concepts under both the NRI program and the Semiconductor Research Corporation's new STARnet program. NRI is a consortium of leading semiconductor companies (Globalfoundries, IBM, Intel, Micron, and Texas Instruments) working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to collaboratively fund university research.



Around the Lab

As of Oct. 1, the new Leader of the Sensor Science Division’s Optical Radiation Group is Cameron Miller, replacing Eric Shirley.

Michael Foss-Feig, a postdoc who splits his time between NIST and the Joint Quantum Institute, is featured in the Autumn 2013 issue of National Academy of Science’s Research Associateship Program newsletter. Recently Foss-Feig won the received the 2013 American Physical Society Award for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Research in Atomic, Molecular, or Optical Physics.

University of Colorado undergraduate researcher Johnathon Gard, who has been working with the Quantum Devices Group in Boulder in the Professional Research Experience Program, submitted a paper he wrote about his research to an internal CU competition for student work that has been judged “excellent” in the university’s Writing on Science and Society Program. His paper was awarded second place. Says Dave Rudman, leader of the Quantum Devices Group: “If you see Johnathon, congratulate him. The world can use more scientists who can write.”


Jin Named to DOE Advisory Panel

Deborah Jin
Deborah Jin
On Aug. 26, 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that Deborah Jin of PML's Quantum Physics Division had been named a member of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. That 19-member board, comprising scientists, business executives, academics, and former government officials, serves as an independent advisory committee to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

 “These individuals represent some of the best and brightest in their respective fields and it is a great privilege that they have agreed to offer their expertise to the Energy Department,” Secretary Moniz stated in a DOE news release. “Having a diverse set of voices around the table will ensure that the Department has a strategic approach to the nation’s energy, science, nuclear security, and environmental stewardship future.”







Fellowship for Lehman

John Lehman of the Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division has been awarded a Special Research Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, administered by the German government to bring distinguished international researchers to Germany for extended periods. Lehman’s nine-month research fellowship will begin November 1, 2013. 

Patently Successful

Michael Gaitan
Michael Gaitan

A multi-unit NIST collaboration has yielded a patent ("Nanofabrication Process and Nanodevice”) for a novel 3D nanofluidic device. Michael Gaitan of PML’s Semiconductor and Dimensional Metrology Division, Samuel M. Stavis of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and Elizabeth Strychalski of the Material Measurement Laboratory’s Biosystems and Biomaterials Division devised the complex nanostructure fabrication resulting in the first 3D nanofluidic device for on-chip, high-resolution, high-range, high-throughput nanoparticle sorting and metrology. Anticipated uses include manufacturing, medicine, and DNA analysis, among others.