Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Core Capabilities

Multi-scale, Multi-Domain, Hybrid Metrology R&D

A defining characteristic of the MMSD is the ability to coordinate and apply our technical expertise to understand and resolve complex, interconnected issues for U.S. partners. We research and develop comprehensive measurement science solutions that combine multiple scientific disciplines, span multiple length scales, and that require complementary and/or novel approaches to circumvent the limitations of any one technique.

Measurement Standards and Services

NIST holds the responsibility of promoting U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. Standards are critical components of metrology transfer - i.e., the science of measurement and its applications - and are required worldwide for calibration, quantification, and verification in a wide variety of fields. These standards products are essential for U.S. leadership in commerce. The MMSD has been instrumental in providing measurement services; leading standards development organizations; developing physical reference materials; generating reference data; and producing test procedures and best practices guides.

Trace Analysis Metrology R&D

Trace analysis metrology addresses applications in which the analyte is difficult to detect, often because the concentration is low relative to the detection limits of the measurement techniques. The MMSD develops, improves, and standardizes analytical and visualization techniques used for the elemental, organic, isotopic, radiological, and morphological characterization of surfaces, thin films, and particles.

X-ray and Neutron Metrology R&D

The MMSD is a world leader in x-ray- and neutron-based measurement science with researchers located at NIST and at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS II) at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Our expertise encompasses a comprehensive range of structure and chemical determination methods. We develop instrumentation; methodologies; analysis and modeling tools that integrate inputs from multiple measurement techniques and theory; and crystallographic and phase equilibria databases. This integrated approach enables quantitative measurements - not attainable by other methods - of complex materials structures across a continuous length scale ranging from the sub-nanometer to the macroscopic level.

Nanoscale Metrology and Fabrication R&D

Nanoscale materials have significantly different physical and chemical properties than their larger scale counterparts, making nano-materials versatile and increasingly attractive to semiconductor, infrastructure, energy, and health technology sectors. The MMSD develops world-class measurement science to quantify the physical (nano-thermal transport mechanisms), mechanical (nano-mechanics), and chemical (surface characterization) properties of a wide variety of organic, inorganic, biomolecular and hybrid material systems.

Microscopy Metrology R&D

Materials characterization is essential for MMSD priority focus areas and is critical to obtain a detailed understanding of engineered and natural materials; processing; and structure-property relationships. Critical materials characterization tools are microscopy, spectrometry, and spectroscopy. The MMSD delivers and enables cutting edge microscopy, microanalysis, and tomography research through development of instruments and analysis methods that expand the performance capabilities of chemical, structural, and morphological characterization. These techniques provide insight into material structure; chemical and phase composition; and processing and synthesis pathways, at length scales spanning the macro-scale to the atomic-scale, by exploiting electron, ion, and photon interactions with matter.

Accelerated Materials Science and Data Analysis Tools R&D

Cutting-edge materials characterization using modern instruments or multi-modal measurement approaches delivers complex and voluminous data streams. Science innovation requires greater roles for open data resources, model-experiment integration, and autonomous laboratories to fuel new material discoveries. MMSD leads metrology development in efficient, optimized methods and protocols to facilitate characterization and discovery of complex, novel, and next-generation materials. Characterization software and data analysis products developed and disseminated by the MMSD support research efforts worldwide in the materials science and characterization communities.

Created April 21, 2023, Updated August 15, 2023