NIST logo

Tech Beat - March 5, 2013

Tech Beat Archives

Submit an email address to receive news from NIST:

Editor: Michael Baum
Date created: March 5, 2013
Date Modified: March 5, 2013 
Contact: inquiries@nist.gov

New Player in Electron Field Emitter Technology Makes for Better Imaging and Communications

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland, College Park, have built a practical, high-efficiency nanostructured electron source. Described in the journal Nanotechnology*, this new, patent-pending technology could lead to improved microwave communications and radar, and more notably to new and improved X-ray imaging systems for security and health-care applications.

field emitter
NIST's silicon carbide field emitter produces a flow of electrons comparable to hot sources, but without the need for heat. By dissolving much of the material away to make a porous structure with a large surface area, NIST scientists ensured that as an electron emission point on an individual spike wears out, another is available to take its place, making the array more durable as a whole.
Credit: Sharifi/NIST
View hi-resolution image

While thermionic electron sources such as the hot filaments inside cathode ray tubes have largely been replaced by LEDs and liquid crystals for display screens and televisions, they are still used to produce microwaves for radar and X-rays for medical imaging. Thermionic sources use an electric current to boil electrons off the surface of a wire filament, similar to the way an incandescent light bulb uses an electric current to heat a wire filament until it glows.

And like an incandescent light bulb, thermionic sources are generally not very energy efficient. It takes a lot of power to boil off the electrons, which spew in every direction. Those that aren't lost have to be captured and focused using a complicated system of electric and magnetic fields. Field emission electron sources require much less power and produce a much more directional and easily controllable stream of electrons.

To build their field emission source, the NIST team took a tough material—silicon carbide—and used a room-temperature chemical process to make it highly porous like a sponge. They then patterned it into microscopic emitting structures in the shape of pointed rods or sharp-edged fins. When an electric field is applied, these novel field emitters can produce an electron flow comparable to a thermionic source but without all the disadvantages—and with many advantages.

According to co-inventor Fred Sharifi, the new field emitters have inherently fast response times compared with thermionic sources, and the absence of heat makes it easier to create arrays of sources. Moreover, the porous nanostructure of the emitters makes them very reliable. Even if the emitter surface wears away during use—a common problem—the newly exposed material continues to work just as well.

Sharifi says that the NIST field emitters hold the potential to enhance the resolution and quality of X-ray images and allow for new modes of detection.

"X-ray images are based on the density of the material being examined, which limits their ability to see certain types of materials, including some types of explosives," says Sharifi. "Our field emitter will let us see not just that something is there, but, because we can build large arrays and place them at different angles, we can identify the material in question by looking at how the X-rays coming from different directions scatter from the object."

The technology is available for licensing through NIST's Technology Partnerships Office.

*M. Kang, H. Lezec and F. Sharifi. Stable field emission from nanoporous silicon carbide. Nanotechnology. 24 (2013) 065201.

Media Contact: Mark Esser, mark.esser@nist.gov, 301-975-8735

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

NIST Quantum Refrigerator Offers Extreme Cooling and Convenience

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a solid-state refrigerator that uses quantum physics in micro- and nanostructures to cool a much larger object to extremely low temperatures.

quantum refrigerator
NIST's prototype solid-state refrigerator uses quantum physics in the square chip mounted on the green circuit board to cool the much larger copper platform (in the middle of the photo) below standard cryogenic temperatures. Other objects can also be attached to the platform for cooling.
Credit: Schmidt/NIST
View hi-resolution image

What's more, the prototype NIST refrigerator, which measures a few inches in outer dimensions, enables researchers to place any suitable object in the cooling zone and later remove and replace it, similar to an all-purpose kitchen refrigerator. The cooling power is the equivalent of a window-mounted air conditioner cooling a building the size of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It's one of the most flabbergasting results I've seen," project leader Joel Ullom says. "We used quantum mechanics in a nanostructure to cool a block of copper. The copper is about a million times heavier than the refrigerating elements. This is a rare example of a nano- or microelectromechanical machine that can manipulate the macroscopic world."

The technology may offer a compact, convenient means of chilling advanced sensors below standard cryogenic temperatures—300 milliKelvin (mK), typically achieved by use of liquid helium—to enhance their performance in quantum information systems, telescope cameras, and searches for mysterious dark matter and dark energy.

As described in Applied Physics Letters,* the NIST refrigerator's cooling elements, consisting of 48 tiny sandwiches of specific materials, chilled a plate of copper, 2.5 centimeters on a side and 3 millimeters thick, from 290 mK to 256 mK. The cooling process took about 18 hours. NIST researchers expect that minor improvements will enable faster and further cooling to about 100 mK.

The cooling elements are sandwiches of a normal metal, a 1-nanometer-thick insulating layer, and a superconducting metal. When a voltage is applied, the hottest electrons "tunnel" from the normal metal through the insulator to the superconductor. The temperature in the normal metal drops dramatically and drains electronic and vibrational energy from the object being cooled.

NIST researchers previously demonstrated this basic cooling method** but are now able to cool larger objects that can be easily attached and removed. Researchers developed a micromachining process to attach the cooling elements to the copper plate, which is designed to be a stage on which other objects can be attached and cooled. Additional advances include better thermal isolation of the stage, which is suspended by strong, cold-tolerant cords.

Cooling to temperatures below 300 mK currently requires complex, large and costly apparatus. NIST researchers want to build simple, compact alternatives to make it easier to cool NIST's advanced sensors. Researchers plan to boost the cooling power of the prototype refrigerator by adding more and higher-efficiency superconducting junctions and building a more rigid support structure.

This work is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

* P.J. Lowell, G.C. O'Neil, J.M. Underwood and J.N. Ullom. Macroscale refrigeration by nanoscale electron transport. Applied Physics Letters. 102, 082601 (2013); Published online 26 Feb. 26, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4793515.
** See 2005 NIST Tech Beat article, "Chip-scale Refrigerators Cool Bulk Objects," at www.nist.gov/pml/div686/chip_scale_042105.cfm.

Media Contact: Laura Ost, laura.ost@nist.gov, 303-497-4880

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

New NIST Time Code to Boost Reception for Radio-Controlled Clocks

New changes to the NIST WWVB time signal, broadcast at 60 KHz., are visible on this oscilloscope. Changes in the overall height of the wave are amplitude modulations, the method WWVB has always used to encode time information. The flipping of the wave upside down and back again are phase modulations, the new encoding system designed to give the signal greater penetration strength.

Credit: Burrus/NIST

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is changing the way it broadcasts time signals that synchronize radio-controlled "atomic" clocks and watches to official U.S. time in ways that will enable new radio-controlled timepieces to be significantly more robust and reliable.

This new time broadcast protocol will not only improve the performance of new radio-controlled clocks and watches, but will encourage the development of new timekeeping products that were not practical with the old broadcast system because of local interference or other limitations. For example, appliances such as refrigerators, microwave ovens and thermostats, as well as traffic light timers and sprinkler systems will be able to take advantage of this new phase modulation broadcast.

Popular radio-controlled timekeepers, which range from wristwatches to wall clocks, are not really atomic clocks—though that's often in their name—but they do set themselves by listening to low-frequency AM time broadcasts from the NIST radio station WWVB in Fort Collins, Colo. Those broadcasts are synchronized to the NIST atomic clock ensemble in nearby Boulder, Colo.

However, sometimes the radio-controlled clocks have difficulty accurately picking up the WWVB time signal because of the clock's location, local radio interference, effects of buildings, and other problems. Moreover, a time broadcast from England on the same frequency also interferes with devices on the east coast of the United States that rely on the NIST broadcast, according to John Lowe, station manager for WWVB.

To solve these problems, Lowe says, NIST has developed, tested and is now beginning to implement the new phase-modulation WWVB signal. Like a traditional AM radio station, time information is encoded in the WWVB broadcast by changes in the strength or amplitude of the radio signal. Phase modulation adds an additional layer of information encoded by shifting the phase of the carrier wave. (The crests of two waves that are "in phase" pass a point at the same time. If one is phase-shifted, the crest will arrive a little before or after the other.)

This change significantly improves signal reception and overall performance of new products that are designed to utilize this new protocol. Legacy clocks and watches will still continue to function as they have because the amplitude modulation remains the same, but they will not benefit from the increased performance of the new phase modulation protocol, Lowe said.

These new products and non-networked systems will be able to take advantage of the improved NIST broadcast format thanks to next generation receiver chips that will begin entering the marketplace in 2013.

For more on radio-controlled clocks work with WWVB, see www.nist.gov/pml/div688/grp40/radioclocks.cfm.

Media Contact: James Burrus, james.burrus@nist.gov, 303-497-4789

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

In High Gear: Weights and Measures Week 2013

From the fuel for your vehicle to a cab ride to the airport, all kinds of consumer products and services are sold by some measurable quantity. The methods for measuring these quantities and the people who make sure those measurements are accurate are absolutely vital to maintaining fairness in the marketplace. Their professional field is called "weights and measures."

alternative fuel vehicle
NIST launched a new workgroup to draw up model regulations for the proper metering and method of sale for vehicles using alternative fuels, including electric vehicles.
Photo Credit: Copyright: kabby/shutterstock.com
View hi-resolution image

To help celebrate the many ways that weights and measures contribute to the economy, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM)—an organization that includes not only state and local regulators but also consumer groups and regulated industries —celebrate Weights and Measures Week the first seven days of March every year.

The date for Weights and Measures Week commemorates the signing of the first United States weights and measures law by President John Adams on March 2, 1799.

Each new year brings unique challenges as emerging technologies create new markets or change how existing markets operate. The weights and measures community works constantly to keep pace with the outpouring of new products and services.

For instance, the emergence of all-electric vehicles and other vehicles powered by fuels other than gasoline or diesel oil, such as liquefied natural gas, has naturally resulted in the appearance of fueling stations that supply those fuels to consumers. NIST launched a new workgroup to draw up model regulations for the proper metering and method of sale of these alternative fuels.

New technology has also had an influence on how taxi meters calculate fares. Taxi fares in many cities are determined by the time and distance traveled, as measured by the taxi's odometer. Some taxi companies have begun to calculate distances using mobile data terminals, navigational satellite systems (i.e. GPS), and software applications available for use on mobile telephones.

To address this, another work group was set up to revise the current Taximeters Code (Section 5.54) in Handbook 44, Specifications, Tolerances, and Other Technical Requirements for Weighing and Measuring Devices with the goal of making sure that these new methods are accurate enough for fair commerce and traceable to the International System of Units (SI).

And as tomorrow's technologies create more new markets, NIST and the NCWM will be there to provide the resources those markets need to thrive. At an average cost of 70¢ per year per taxpayer,* our weight and measures infrastructure really goes the extra kilometer.

Web resources to learn more about the work of weights and measures and legal metrology:

* Average cost to the state taxpayer for weights and measures enforcement, based on reports from the states to the NCWM.

Media Contact: Mark Esser, mark.esser@nist.gov, 301-975-8735

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

NIST Panel Expands Recommendations for Use of Electronic Health Records in Pediatrics

To speed development and adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) for pediatrics, a group of experts from industry, academia and government convened by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has focused its attention on three key audiences—records-system vendors and developers, small-group pediatric medical practices and children's hospitals.

In a paper* in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, the panel of medical, human factors engineering and software-usability experts detail how specific recommendations from a recent guide to pediatric EHRs could be translated into practice.

In July 2012, NIST published A Human Factors Guide to Enhance EHR Usability of Critical User Interactions when Supporting Pediatric Patient Care (NISTIR 7865) to help improve the design of electronic health records for pediatric patients so that the design focus is on the users—the doctors, nurses and other clinicians who treat children.

The Joint Commission is a not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States and is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. The peer-reviewed The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety serves as a forum for practical approaches to improving quality and safety in health care.

"In this article we provide tailored recommendations to the three stakeholder groups we thought could most help in accelerating adoption of pediatric electronic health records," said Lana Lowry, one of the article's authors. "This was a good opportunity to reach a large and important health care audience."

The article offers additional details on the methods used to develop the original guidance, and on how to translate its methodologies to similar efforts in other areas where electronic health records are being designed and implemented.

Pediatric care differs substantially from adult care because of differences in developmental status, size, and the measurements used to convey this type of information, as well as the patient's ability to communicate. These differences make the selection and arrangement of information displays, definition of "normal" ranges, and thresholds for alerts more challenging than for EHR use with adult populations.

The guide's recommendations take into account these differences between adult and pediatric patients, recommending a "one-click" access to growth charts, and supporting dose information out to more decimal points—critical for low-weight patients for whom slight differences in dosing can have significant impacts.

The guidance recommends EHR system users—from the small practice to the large hospital—be active participants working with their vendors to design displays and other aspects of systems to their own needs. For example, small practices could create committees made up of a few staff members from different disciplines (nurses, doctors, and IT specialists) to determine how to customize their EHRs for their own needs. Large hospitals could request unit-specific banners to avoid any confusion between adult and pediatric patients who may have the same names.

A Human Factors Guide to Enhance EHR Usability of Critical User Interactions when Supporting Pediatric Patient Care (NISTIR 7865) is available at www.nist.gov/manuscript-publication-search.cfm?pub_id=911520.

To receive a copy of the article, please contact Lana Lowry at lana.lowry@nist.gov.

* E.S. Patterson, J. Zhang, P. Abbott, M.C. Gibbons, S.V. Lowry, M.T. Quinn, M. Ramaiah and D. Brick. Enhancing electronic health record usability in pediatric patient care: A scenario-based approach. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. Vol. 39, no. 3. (Mar 2013): 129-135.

Media Contact: Jennifer Huergo, jennifer.huergo@nist.gov, 301-975-6343

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

Temp-Controlled 'Nanopores' May Allow Detailed Blood Analysis

Tiny biomolecular chambers called nanopores that can be selectively heated may help doctors diagnose disease more effectively if recent research by a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Wheaton College, and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) proves effective. Though the findings* may be years away from application in the clinic, they may one day improve doctors' ability to search the bloodstream quickly for indicators of disease—a longstanding goal of medical research.

nanopores
By tethering gold nanoparticles (large spheres in top image) to the nanopore (violet), the temperature around the nanopore can be changed quickly and precisely with laser light, allowing scientists to distinguish between similar molecules in the pore that behave differently under varied temperature conditions.
Credit: Robertson/NIST
View hi-resolution image

The team has pioneered work on the use of nanopores—tiny chambers that mimic the ion channels in the membranes of cells—for the detection and identification of a wide range of molecules, including DNA. Ion channels are the gateways by which the cell admits and expels materials like proteins, ions and nucleic acids. The typical ion channel is so small that only one molecule can fit inside at a time.

Previously, team members inserted a nanopore into an artificial cell membrane, which they placed between two electrodes. With this setup, they could drive individual molecules into the nanopore and trap them there for a few milliseconds, enough to explore some of their physical characteristics.

"A single molecule creates a marked change in current that flows through the pore, which allows us to measure the molecule's mass and electrical charge with high accuracy," says Joseph Reiner, a physicist at VCU who previously worked at NIST. "This enables discrimination between different molecules at high resolution. But for real-world medical work, doctors and clinicians will need even more advanced measurement capability."

A goal of the team's work is to differentiate among not just several types of molecules, but among the many thousands of different proteins and other biomarkers in our bloodstream. For example, changes in protein levels can indicate the onset of disease, but with so many similar molecules in the mix, it is important not to mistake one for another. So the team expanded their measurement capability by attaching gold nanoparticles to engineered nanopores, "which provides another means to discriminate between various molecular species via temperature control," Reiner says.

The team attached gold nanoparticles to the nanopore via tethers made from complementary DNA strands. Gold's ability to absorb light and quickly convert its energy to heat that conducts into the adjacent solution allows the team to alter the temperature of the nanopore with a laser at will, dynamically changing the way individual molecules interact with it.

"Historically, sudden temperature changes were used to determine the rates of chemical reactions that were previously inaccessible to measurement," says NIST biophysicist John Kasianowicz. "The ability to rapidly change temperatures in volumes commensurate with the size of single molecules will permit the separation of subtly different species. This will not only aid the detection and identification of biomarkers, it will also help develop a deeper understanding of thermodynamic and kinetic processes in single molecules."

The team is researching ways to improve semiconductor-based nanopores, which could further expand this new measurement capability.

*J.E. Reiner, J.W.F. Robertson, D.L. Burden, L.K. Burden, A. Balijepalli and J.J. Kasianowicz. Temperature sculpting in yoctoliter volumes. Journal of the American Chemical Society, DOI: 10.1021/ja309892e. Jan. 24, 2013.

Media Contact: Chad Boutin, boutin@nist.gov, 301-975-4261

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

NIST, Stanford Collaborate to Catalog Early Microcomputing Software Data

When you hear the term “cultural heritage,” what springs to mind? The dramas of Tennessee Williams, the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe? Software from the early 1980s? The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Stanford University Libraries (SUL) hope their new project to catalog the data contained in about 15,000 software releases from the early days of microcomputing, many of which are game titles, will help give software its place in culture.

library
The NSRL and Stanford University Libraries are cataloging roughly 15,000 software titles from the early days of microcomputing, an effort that will make the collection more broadly useful to social scientists and other researchers.
Credit: NIST
View hi-resolution image

The effort is aimed at expanding the National Software Reference Library (NSRL), a collection at NIST most commonly used by law enforcement organizations. The NSRL creates short data profiles called “hashes,” digital fingerprints that uniquely identify a file on a computer as an unaltered copy of a specific program or other piece of software in the library’s index. These hashes help determine which files are important as evidence on computers that have been seized as part of criminal investigations. But while law enforcement has been one of NSRL’s best customers, the library aims to make itself useful to a far broader swath of researchers by expanding its holdings and measuring aspects of them in new ways.

“These early software titles are part of our history—they are part of business culture, of pop culture, of our art,” says Barbara Guttman, computer scientist and director of the NSRL. “How people interacted with computers in the first days of microcomputing, and how that affected people, is something we know little about.”

The new infusion of software is from the Stephen M. Cabrinety Collection in the History of Microcomputing at Stanford University, one of the world’s largest pristine software collections. SUL acquired the collection in 1998 as part of its larger effort to preserve digital materials for research purposes. NIST is working to render the materials into “images,” a word that encompasses both pictures of the original physical packaging and bit-for-bit copies of the original software code. The project could, for example, make it easier for scientists to conduct studies on violence in video games and its social impact, Guttman says.

NIST will return the originals to SUL but will retain the images in the NSRL, which plans to make the software’s hashes available in short order. Stanford will make their entire code available once SUL addresses the intellectual property issues involving these commercial products. Researchers will then be able to explore the collection.

Guttman says that she hopes the effort makes the collection a better resource for future generations of social scientists. “Looking at this software in its original physical formats has immediate value in that, for example, it can tell us how well data survives in certain media,” she says. “But our long-term goal is to characterize these materials in as many ways as possible, so that social scientists can design and conduct studies they haven’t even thought of yet.”

Media Contact: Chad Boutin, boutin@nist.gov, 301-975-4261

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

Nanoelectronics Conference Will Focus on Semiconductor Industry's Future

How the semiconductor industry can create the next generations of nanoscale computing technology will be one of the themes of the 2013 International Conference on Frontiers of Characterization and Metrology for Nanoelectronics, to be held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), March 25-28, 2013, at its campus in Gaithersburg, Md. 

As the devices lying at the heart of computing shrink ever closer to fundamental limits, the semiconductor industry must confront the problem of what to do when conventional microprocessors simply cannot shrink any further. The bi-yearly conference, which will be attended by international representatives from industry, government and academia, should be of interest to anyone concerned about the future of semiconductor manufacturing—a $300 billion industry and a linchpin of the U.S. economy.

Highlights include the three successive keynote addresses beginning at 9 a.m., Tuesday, March 26, by Mike Mayberry, V.P. and Director of Component Research at Intel; Naga Chandrasekaran, V.P. of Process R&D at Micron; and Gyeong-Su Park, Leader of the Analytical Science Group at Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology. Also, at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, March 28, invited speaker Tom Theis of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative will deliver an address on long-term strategies to replace today's transistors. A full conference program is available at http://nist.gov/pml/div683/conference/.

Attendance is free for members of the media but requires advance registration. Please contact Lori Guariglia at lori.guariglia@nist.com or (301) 975-2054 to register. Members of the media interested in setting up interviews should contact Chad Boutin at boutin@nist.gov.

Media Contact: Chad Boutin, boutin@nist.gov, 301-975-4261

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

NIST Solicits Views, Ideas from Stakeholders for Cybersecurity Framework for Critical Infrastructure

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today issued a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register as its first step in the process to develop a Cybersecurity Framework, a set of voluntary standards and best practices to guide industry in reducing cyber risks to the networks and computers that support critical infrastructure vital to the nation's economy, security and daily life.

Stakeholder meetings are also a part of the framework process, and the first such meeting will be held April 3, 2013, at the NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md.

President Obama called for the framework to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure such as power plants and financial, transportation and communications systems, in his February 12, 2013, Executive Order on "Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity."*

NIST requests ideas, recommendations and other input from critical infrastructure owners and operators, federal agencies, state and local governments, standards-setting organizations, and other interested parties about current risk management practices; use of frameworks, standards, guidelines and best practices; specific industry practices and more. Specific questions are included in the RFI.

For more on information about the framework and the process NIST will use to develop the framework within a year, see the February 13, 2013, announcement** on the Department of Commerce Web page or the NIST Cybersecurity Framework Web page at www.nist.gov/itl/cyberframework.cfm.

The RFI on the new Cybersecurity Framework is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/26/2013-04413/developing-a-framework-to-improve-critical-infrastructure-cybersecurity. Comments are due by 5 p.m. ET, Monday, April 8, 2013, and should be sent to cyberframework@nist.gov with the subject line: "Developing a Framework to Improve Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity."

Registration information for the April 3 public workshop is available at www.nist.gov/itl/csd/cybersecurity-framework-workshop.cfm.

* The Executive Order is available at www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/12/executive-order-improving-critical-infrastructure-cybersecurity.
** The DOC announcement is available at www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2013/02/13/national-institute-standards-and-technology-initiates-development-new.

Media Contact: Evelyn Brown, evelyn.brown@nist.gov, 301-975-5661

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

NIST Offers Forensic Science Education and Training Webcasts

Building upon the success of last November’s “Forensics@NIST 2012” symposium, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is offering three upcoming educational and skills-building events—two workshops followed by a conference—for forensic science professionals. All of the events will be free to attend and viewable via live webcasts.

First up on April 12, 2013, is a one-day, eight-hour workshop on interpreting forensic DNA mixtures in casework. Topics to be covered include: why working with DNA mixtures is difficult, what approaches are being used around the world to cope with complex mixtures, how validation studies should guide mixture interpretation protocols, and what statistical methods are appropriate in different situations. Multiple examples will be worked during the webcast to illustrate the fundamental principles of mixture interpretation.

For more information and to register, go to www.nist.gov/oles/forensics/dna-analyst-training-on-mixture-interpretation.cfm.

A second workshop, scheduled for two days (April 30-May 1, 2013), will explore emerging trends in the forensic analysis of three types of designer drugs: synthetic cannabinoids (chemical compounds that activate the same receptors as marijuana), substituted cathinones (stimulants sometimes called “bath salts”) and novel hallucinogens. NIST is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration in this workshop to highlight current federal efforts to: regulate synthetic drugs; document the types of synthetic drugs being encountered across the country; make available physical standards for emerging synthetic drugs; collaborate toward enhanced use of databases in drug analysis; conduct research studies in the synthetic drug analysis arena; and define the pitfalls commonly encountered during analysis and interpretation.

For more information and to register, go to www.nist.gov/oles/synthetic_drugs.cfm.

Finally, The Measurement Science and Standards in Forensic Handwriting Analysis Conference will take place on June 4-5, 2013, at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md. This meeting will be to enhance the current state of forensic handwriting analysis through the use of advancements in measurement science and the latest research investments in quantitative analysis capabilities. NIST is coordinating the event in collaboration with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences – Questioned Document Section, the American Board of Forensic Document Examiners, the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners; the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, and the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Document Examination.

For more information, go to www.nist.gov/oles/handwriting.cfm. Registration for this conference will be available soon at the same address.

Media Contact: Michael E. Newman, michael.newman@nist.gov, 301-975-3025

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

March Conference Focuses on New Trends in Cybersecurity and Information Security Education

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will host the 26th annual conference of the Federal Information Systems Security Educators’ Association (FISSEA) March 19-21, 2013, at its Gaithersburg, Md., headquarters.

FISSEA promotes cybersecurity awareness, training and education. The annual meeting is geared toward both new and seasoned security officers, IT managers, information security educators and researchers, cybersecurity trainers and teachers, and those involved in instructional design and curriculum development. It is open to individuals in government, industry and academia.

Cybersecurity awareness has never been more keenly on the minds of employers than today, and this year, planning for and developing a cyber-savvy workforce is a main theme throughout the meeting.

Key talks include “How to Use the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework” and “How to Plan for Your Cybersecurity Workforce.” Other sessions focus on developing the careers of existing workers in the cyber arena and programs for expanding the available pool of cyber-savvy employees. These talks cover programs such as the Cybercorps Scholarship for Service Program® and others that focus on increasing the role of minorities in cyber security and cross-training wounded veterans.

The conference also prepares attendees for emerging trends with “The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Sharing the Knowledge of Supply Chain Risk,” “Cyber Security Awareness Training in the Age of Mobile Devices” and a panel on “BYOD: Bring Your Own Device.”

This year, to improve the skills of trainers, conference planners have prepared a session that will be both entertaining and hard work. Competing speakers will vie for best presentation in Pecha Kucha (Lightning Round). The challenge is to present an outstanding training session in 6 minutes and 40 seconds with only 20 slides and no more than 20 seconds spent on each slide.

The winners of the five FISSEA security contest categories and the name of the next FISSEA Educator of the Year awardee will be announced at the conference. For more information and to register, see http://csrc.nist.gov/fissea. On line registration ends March 13th.

Media Contact: Evelyn Brown, evelyn.brown@nist.gov, 301-975-5661

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top

Three NIST IT Leaders Are Honored with 2013 Federal 100 Awards

Three members of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Information Technology Laboratory were named to the 2013 list of the top 100 government, industry and academic leaders in the federal government IT community. The award recognizes individuals who are making a difference in the way technology has transformed their agency or accelerated their agency's mission.

Jon Boyens, Jeremy Grant and Adam Sedgewick
Jon Boyens, Jeremy Grant and Adam Sedgewick
Credit: NIST
View hi-resolution image

The Federal 100 Awards are sponsored by Federal Computer Week. Recipients are chosen by a panel of government and industry leaders. They will be formally honored at a gala on March 20, 2013.

Jon Boyens is a senior information technology security specialist in the Computer Security Division. As lead for NIST's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) project, he identifies and evaluates technologies, tools, techniques, practices and standards useful in managing risk to the ICT supply chain and co-leads the U.S. government's efforts to develop ICT SCRM lifecycle processes and standards.

Jeremy Grant is a senior executive advisor for identity management at NIST. He leads the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) National Program Office, which is working to foster a vibrant marketplace of identity solutions—provided by entities both private and public—that would enhance the security, convenience and privacy of online transactions.

Senior Information Technology Policy Advisor Adam Sedgewick coordinates information technology projects with NIST's critical partners in the federal arena, including the Chief Information Officers' Council, the Office of Management and Budget and the National Security Staff. Sedgewick is leading NIST's newest project to develop a cybersecurity framework for critical infrastructure such as power plants, and financial, transportation and communications systems, as called for in President Obama's 2013 Executive Order on "Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity."

Media Contact: Evelyn Brown, evelyn.brown@nist.gov, 301-975-5661

Comment  Comment on this article.back to top