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Fluid Characterization Group

The Fluid Characterization Group specializes in the development of novel methods for analyzing vapors and fluid mixtures to serve public health and safety, criminal justice, and industry.

The Fluid Characterization Group is part of the Applied Chemicals and Materials Division (ACMD) on the NIST Boulder campus. We develop and validate novel methods and instrumentation for measurements of fundamental thermophysical properties such as vapor-liquid equilibrium (VLE), vapor-solid equilibrium (VSE), interaction parameters, vapor pressure, and competitive adsorption. We focus on challenging, real-world systems that contain trace compounds or reactive molecules, typically in complex mixtures.

Applications for our work include: GWP/GHG refrigerants, indoor air quality, forensics, exposure science, environmental science, energy technology, and numerous field sampling applications. We collaborate with industry, universities, and government agencies. We participate in several standards organizations to support the adoption of improved methods.

The group’s analytical capabilities are the product of an extensive suite of instrumentation and staff with years of specialized experience.

  • Gas chromatography equipped with a single quadrupole mass spectrometry (electron ionization GC-MS) and flame ionization detection (GC-FID);
  • High-resolution tandem quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometer (GC-QTOF MS/MS);
  • High performance liquid chromatography with detection by UV-Vis spectrometry and quadrupole mass spectrometry (ESI/APCI);
  • Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR).

We operate a fully equipped nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy laboratory with a high-field (600 MHz NMR) spectrometry and a suite of NMR probes that allow for structural, dynamic, and diffusion measurements of gases, liquids, and solids as well as a 60 MHz benchtop NMR system.  

We maintain both the NMR Facility and the Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) Facilities at NIST Boulder. 


News and Updates

Recent Patent Activity within ACMD

A provisional patent by Tom Bruno and Kim Urness of the Applied Chemicals and Materials Division on Inductive Flash Desorption was published on June 7, 2018

Projects and Programs

Renewable Energy and Fuels

Energy is one of the most critical problems facing the United States, with technical, economic, and public policy aspects. Our group develops state-of-the-art

Vapor Sampling in the Field

We develop and deploy portable vapor sampling instruments to collect detailed chemical information in the field, in sampling situations where the laboratory is



Group Leader