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Trade Center Team Calls for Code Improvements
NIST research structural engineer Nicholas Carino describes
laboratory tests used to estimate the amount of fireproofing
that was dislodged from various structural elements within
the WTC buildings when the aircraft were flown into them
on Sept. 11. The specimens shown include steel bars and
plates that have been coated with the same type and depth
of sprayed fire-resistive material as was used in the WTC
a high-resolution version of this image contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
press and public briefings in New York City on June 23, investigators
from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
called on organizations that develop building and fire safety
codes, standards and practices—and the state and local
agencies that adopt them—to make specific changes to improve
the safety of tall buildings, their occupants and first responders.
The recommendations result from the agency’s investigation
of the fires and collapses of New York City’s World Trade
Center (WTC) towers following the terrorist attacks of Sept.
the findings of the most detailed examination of a building
failure ever conducted, the NIST team made 30 recommendations.
“We believe these recommendations are both realistic and
achievable within a reasonable period of time, and should greatly
improve the way people design, construct, maintain and use buildings,
especially high-rises,” said WTC Lead Investigator Shyam
Sunder. “The recommendations also should lead to safer
and more effective building evacuations and emergency responses.
However, improvements will only be realized if they are acted
upon by the appropriate organizations.”
contained within 43 draft reports (totaling some 10,000 pages),
were released for a six-week public comment period. A few of
the recommendations include:
standards and codes for preventing progressive collapse;
the fire resistance of structures with better "fireproofing"
materials and tests;
for sprinklers, fire alarms and other "active" fire
protection systems that address the greater risks of taller
tall buildings to accommodate full building evacuations if
fire-protected and structurally hardened elevators.
Nightclub Fire Report Urges Code Compliance
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) fire investigators
have urged all state and local governments to adopt and aggressively
enforce national model building and fire safety codes for
nightclubs. Additionally, in a report released June 29, NIST
called for some significant changes to further strengthen
the model codes based on the findings from the agency’s
investigation of the Feb. 20, 2003, fire at The Station nightclub
in W. Warwick, R.I., that killed 100 people.
investigation concluded that “strict adherence to the
2003 model codes available at the time of the fire would go
a long way to preventing similar tragedies in the future.
Changes to the codes subsequent to the fire made them stronger.
By making some additional changes—and state and local
agencies adopting and enforcing them—we can strengthen
occupant safety even further.”
on our investigation findings and the comments received on
our draft report, we are making 10 recommendations in our
final report for increased occupant safety in nightclubs that
reinforce the current model codes and proposing additional
changes that will make them even more effective,” said
Lead Investigator William Grosshandler.
of the 10 NIST recommendations support and add to the actions
already taken by the State of Rhode Island and national model
code development organizations since The Station nightclub
fire. Examples include requiring all nightclubs with occupancies
of more than 100 people to have sprinklers, tighter restrictions
on the use of flammable materials in finish products, and
setting maximum permitted evacuation times (90 seconds for
nightclubs similar in size to or smaller than The Station).
Other recommendations address emergency preparedness and response
three NIST recommendations call for more research on human
behavior in emergencies, fire spread and suppression, and
computer-aided decision tools—the data from which could
yield further improvements in and maximize the effectiveness
of these lifesaving regulations.
E. Newman, email@example.com,
Design Developed for Silicon Nanowire Transistors
an advance for nanoscale electronics, researchers at the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated
a new design for silicon nanowire transistors that both simplifies
processing and allows the devices to be switched on and off
schematic diagram of the NIST nanowire transistor.
on image for high-resolution version.
design, described in a paper published June 29 by the journal
Nanotechnology,* uses a simplified type of contact
between the nanowire channel and the positive and negative electrodes
of the transistor. The design allows more electrical current
to flow in and out of the silicon. The researchers believe the
design is the first to demonstrate a "Schottky barrier"
type contact for a nanowire transistor built using a "top-down"
approach. This barrier, an easily formed metal contact that
electrons can tunnel through, requires much less doping with
impurities than do conventional ohmic contacts, thereby simplifying
processing requirements. Schottky contacts also offer more resistance
and restrict electrical flow to one direction when the transistor
NIST transistor design, the 60-nanometer-wide channels exhibit
a much greater difference in current between the on and off
states than is true for larger reference channels up to 5 micrometers
wide. This suggests that when a channel is scaled down to the
nano regime, the ultra-narrow proportions significantly reduce
the current leakage associated with defects in silicon. As a
result, the transistors are less sensitive to electronic "noise"
in the channel and can be turned on and off more effectively,
according to the paper's lead author, Sang-Mo Koo, a NIST guest
nanowire devices have received considerable attention recently
for possible use in integrated nanoscale electronics as well
as for studying fundamental properties of structures and devices
with very small dimensions. The NIST work overcomes some key
difficulties in making reliable devices or test structures at
nanoscale dimensions. The results also suggest that nanowire
transistors made with conventional lithographic fabrication
methods can improve performance in nanoscale electronics, while
allowing industry to retain its existing silicon technology
M.D. Edelstein, Q.Li, C.A. Richter and E.M. Vogel. 2005. Silicon
nanowires as enhancement-mode Schottky barrier field-effect
transistors. Nanotechnology 16. Posted online June
Web Service Tracks Foreign Tech Regulations
to know about pending changes in technical regulations in Brazil,
the United Kingdom, Korea or any of the 148 nations that are
members of the World Trade Organization (WTO)? Then sign up
for the Notify U.S. service to be unveiled July 1 by
the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
U.S. is the successor to Export Alert!, the e-mail regulations-notification
system previously offered by NIST and the International Trade
Administration. This new Web-based service offers a fast, comprehensive,
global perspective on proposed technical regulations and conformity
assessment procedures that might influence U.S. access to export
markets. Notify U.S. provides users with access to
notifications and full texts of regulations issued by the WTO
members. In addition, users can monitor proposed changes across
chosen countries and 41 fields of industrial or technical activities,
or they can select a subset of fields.
As in Export
Alert!, users will receive e-mail messages informing them
when proposed regulations are issued by countries or in fields
of technical activity they monitor.
free service is operated by NIST’s National Center for
Standards and Certification Information (NCSCI). NCSCI is the
nation’s designated Inquiry Point under the WTO Agreement
on Technical Barriers to Trade. At the request of Notify
U.S. users, the Center will secure the full text of a proposed
regulation referenced in a notification. To learn more—and
to sign up—go to the Notify U.S. Web site at
Mark Bello, firstname.lastname@example.org,
to Accredit Voting Systems Test Labs
National Institute of Standards and Technology has established
a program for accrediting laboratories that will test voting
systems and components in accordance with the Help America Vote
Act (HAVA) of 2002. Laboratories wishing to be considered for
accreditation in the first group must submit an application
and pay required fees by Aug. 16, 2005. Evaluation of the first
group of applicant laboratories will begin on or about Sept.
program is being established as part of NIST’s National
Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) in
coordination with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
(EAC). NVLAP accredits public and private laboratories
based on evaluation of their technical qualifications
and competence to carry out specific calibrations or tests.
The evaluation process will include interviews with key
laboratory staff to determine if they are properly trained
and technically competent; reviews of laboratory documentation;
and demonstrations of tests to be conducted on voting
systems and components.
is a prerequisite for a laboratory to be considered by the EAC
as a Voting System Test and Certification Authority (VSTCA).
EAC-accredited laboratories will test and certify voting systems
for conformance with voluntary voting system standards proposed
by the EAC. The EAC will maintain a list of VSTCAs to help vendors
and elections officials identify qualified resources.
150-22, NVLAP Voting System Testing, provides technical
requirements and guidance for accrediting laboratories under
this program. For a copy of the voting system testing handbook
and an application, call (301) 975-4016, send an e-mail to email@example.com,
or write to Voting System Program Testing Manager, NIST/NVLAP,
Stop 2140, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-2140. Established
in 1976, NVLAP provides third-party accreditation to testing
and calibration laboratories. For more information on NVLAP,
Jan Kosko, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Outlines Support for Health IT Initiative
Bush has set a goal of widespread adoption of
electronic health records within 10 years so
that health information will follow patients
throughout their care in a seamless and secure
manner. To help achieve this goal, the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
and the Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) have developed a strategic partnership.
In testimony before the Senate Subcommittee
on Technology, Innovation, and Competitiveness
on June 30, NIST Acting Director Hratch Semerjian
outlined how NIST plans to support the President's
Health IT Initiative including:
assisting in evaluating responses to the Request
for Proposals recently issued by HHS;
technical expertise for Nationwide Health Information Network
in standards harmonization;
performance and conformance metrics for NHIN;
in the development of procedures for certifying conformance; and
guidance for IT security.
full text of Semerjian's testimony is available
Materials Planned for Semiconductor Industry
and research organizations are invited to collaborate
with the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) and SEMATECH in the development
and evaluation of a new generation of reference
materials for the semiconductor and tool manufacturing
industries. The work is a continuation of NIST's
efforts to provide standard "rulers"
for measuring chip features. The new reference
materials will differ from the previous generation
in several ways. Current plans call for each
reference material to be configured as a 200-millimeter
wafer with a selection of die sites, each with
multiple test structures with certified critical
dimensions between 40 and 500 nanometers.
The reference-material design, fabrication and
calibration will be led by the NIST-SEMATECH
team. The principal role of participating companies
and other organizations will be evaluation of
the reference materials, but they also may contribute
expertise, equipment time, or other resources.
Participants will receive one or more wafers,
and all associated measurement documentation,
on completion of the work.
interested in participating are invited to a
public event scheduled for July 13, 2005, at
the San Francisco Marriott. More information
and registration forms are available online
For further information contact, Michael Cresswell,
email@example.com, (301) 975-2072.
Information about the previous set of reference
materials, delivered to SEMATECH member companies
earlier this year, is available at www.nist.gov/public_affairs/releases/atom_rulers.htm.
Requested for Crypto Hash Workshop
The National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) is soliciting papers, presentations and
other submissions for a workshop on Oct. 31-Nov.
1, 2005, in Gaithersburg, Md., to discuss a
vulnerability in a NIST cryptographic standard
known as SHA-1 (Secure Hash Standard). Submission
topics include security status of approved hashes,
short-term actions and potential replacement
is used widely by the federal government and
others in cryptographic processes such as digital
signatures and message authentication. In February,
a team of researchers announced that they had
discovered a way to “break” the
SHA-1 algorithm. Submissions are due by July
15 and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, see www.csrc.nist.gov/pki/HashWorkshop/index.html.
Scientist Honored for Neutron Probe Advances
pioneering contributions that have expanded
the capabilities of a class of specialized instruments
that use neutrons to probe materials, Charles
Majkrzak has given researchers around the world
a productive new angle on topics ranging from
the structure of cell membranes to spintronic
devices for high-density data storage.
his role in enhancing both the hardware and
theory in the field known as neutron reflectometry,
Majkrzak, who leads the Surfaces and Interfacial
Science Team at the National Institute of Standards
and Technology Center for Neutron Research,
will receive the 2006 Bertram E. Warren Diffraction
Physics Award. Given every three years by the
American Crystallographic Association, the award
recognizes those who continue the tradition
of its namesake, a Massachusetts Institute of
Technology professor who developed widely used
methods for determining the structure of a material
by analyzing the way in which it scatters, or
diffracts, X-ray beams.
reflectometers, instead, measure the glancing
angles at which neutrons reflect from samples,
thereby revealing details of both atomic and
magnetic structure. Equipped with enhancements
developed by Majkrzak and since adopted by major
research facilities across the globe, these
instruments now reveal greater structural detail
and continue to find new applications, particularly
in the field of biology. For more information
on Majkrzak and his achievements, see www.ncnr.nist.gov/news/Majkrzak_Warren_Award_ACA.html.