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Chemical Process and Nuclear Measurements Group

The group performs state-of-the art chemical and physical measurements to provide reference data, develop standards and models, and advance chemical measurement science and the fundamental understanding of chemical systems.

Research activities include elucidation of reaction mechanisms and time-dependent phenomena, such as the measurement of rate constants, transport properties, and the transformation of complex chemical systems by investigating composition, electronic and structural properties as it relates to chemical and physical function.   The group compiles, critically evaluates, and disseminates reference methods, data, and Standard Reference Materials.  Additionally, the group maintains facilities and expertise in nuclear methods for elemental analysis in collaboration with the NIST Center for Neutron Research and external partners.  The research focuses on areas of national and industrial needs such as those related to energy, manufacturing, security, and the environment. Group members are engaged with international standards development organizations and other National Metrology Institutes to establish comparability of measurement capabilities.

TEM Aerosol
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of aerosol reference material candidates

Primary Focus Areas

Climate Change

  • Next Generation Batteries –
    • Develop and apply unique in situ, in operando measurement of Li dynamics to elucidate structure function relationships in prototype battery materials
    • Select light element depth analysis with Neutron Depth Profiling - click here for video 
  • Chemical Kinetics –
    • elucidate atmospheric lifetime and impact of anthropogenic chemicals such as next generation refrigerants
    • biofuels – understand the reaction mechanisms for decomposition facilitate development of ‘drop-in’ replacements for fossil fuels
  • Aerosols – quantitatively characterize chemical and optical properties of aerosols to understand the role of aerosols in the Earth’s albedo
  • Collaboration with NASA – help develop measurement capabilities to image Solar interaction with Earth’s magnetosphere
    • Solar events impact reliability of satellites tracking Earth’s weather, climate, and electrical systems
    • NASA-NIST collaboration on Ni Deposition processes for highly reflective soft-x-ray mirrors.  
  • Catalysis –
    • Chemical kinetics and mechanisms of CO2 conversion to high value materials
    • Develop benchmark measurements and materials to help foster innovation in the research communities
  • Direct Air Capture
    • Coordination of MML’s projects related to direct air capture (DAC) and carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS)


  • Nanoplastics – characterize size, particle number, and chemical composition of nanoplastics in water
  • PFAS - Develop new detection capabilities such as new fluorine measurement capabilities to support total F measurements in PFAS
  • Rare Earth Element - Develop and apply measurements of rare earth elements in mine waste
  • Catalysis – develop in situ and in operando measurements of catalytic systems used for emissions reduction


  • Enable in situ assessment of concrete structures by developing Cl in concrete imaging using portable neutron generators
Atomic layer deposition (ALD)
Atomic layer deposition (ALD) reactor with time resolved optical diagnostics
Etch Chamber
Inductively-coupled Plasma-Etch Chamber

News and Updates

Projects and Programs

Advanced Materials Characterization

The Chemical Sciences Division supports the characterization of new, diverse, and technological critical materials. The constant evolution of material science


Tools and Instruments


Press Coverage

What’s inside all those masks?

Washington Post
Research conducted by scientists at NIST and the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute show that the humidity in your breath may improve the performance


Group Leader

Office Manager