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NIST Spectrophotometry Short Course

NIST is closely monitoring guidance from Federal, State, and local health authorities on the outbreak of COVID-19. To protect the health and safety of NIST employees and the American public they continue to serve, NIST has decided to postpone the event. For more information on COVID-19, please visit: For questions regarding registration, please contact Karen.Startsman [at]

Spectrophotometry Short Course logo

The NIST Spectrophotometry Short Course is offered every 2 years and covers the fundamentals of science and technology related to the accurate measurement of optical properties of materials. Participants will gain a good understanding of the theory and practice of spectrophotometry using dispersive and Fourier-transform techniques as well as optical scatterometry. Particular emphasis is placed on the evaluation of uncertainties in transmittance, reflectance, and bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) measurements.

Dates TBD
NIST Gaithersburg, Maryland

The NIST Spectrophotometry Short Course is a 5-day course held at NIST Gaithersburg, Maryland. The course consists of lectures and hands-on laboratory experiments covering the fundamentals of optical properties measurements, such as transmittance, reflectance, and BRDF. Important sources of uncertainty and the relative merits of different experimental techniques, including dispersive, Fourier-transform, and laser-based schemes, are also addressed. The course concludes with laboratory presentations by the students and an open discussion forum with NIST scientists.

Attendance for the course is limited to 12 participants. Pre-registration is required and acceptance is determined on a first-come, first-served basis.

Who Should Attend

This course is intended for engineers, scientists, technicians, managers, or others involved in the design or use of optical instrumentation, optical testing, or physical sciences in which optical properties of materials measurements are important.

Monday, May 13
1:30 pm Welcome to NIST
   1:50 pm Lectures 1 to 3
   5:00 pm Adjourn

Tuesday, May 14
   8:15 am Lectures 4 to 7
   12:00 pm Lunch
   1:00 pm Lab Instructor Briefing
   1:20 pm Experiments
   5:30 pm Adjourn

Wednesday, May 15
   8:15 am Lectures 8 to 10
   12:00 pm Lunch
   1:00 pm Lab Instructor Briefing
   1:20 pm Experiments
   5:30 pm Adjourn

Thursday, May 16
   8:15 am Lectures 11 to 13
   12:00 pm Lunch
   1:00 pm Lab Instructor Briefing
   1:20 pm Experiments
   5:30 pm Adjourn

Friday, May 17
   8:30 am Student Presentations
   9:30 am Panel Discussion
   10:00 am Laboratory Tours
   12:00 pm Lunch & Adjourn

Lecture Topics:

• Overview
• Fundamentals of spectrophotometry
• Theory of optical properties of materials
• Dispersive spectrophotometry
• Fourier-transform spectrophotometry
• Measurement of scattered light and BRDF
• Diffuse reflectance and integrating spheres
• Error propagation and uncertainty analysis
• Colorimetry and appearance
• Emissivity measurements and temperature dependent optical properties
• Polarization in spectrophotometry
• Hyperspectral Imaging
• NIST test and measurement services in spectrophotometry

Hands-on Laboratory Experiments:

• Dispersive spectrophotometry
• Fourier-transform spectrophotometry
• Scatterometry



If you are not registered, you will not be allowed on site. Registered attendees will receive security and campus instructions prior to the workshop.

NON U.S. CITIZENS PLEASE NOTE: All foreign national visitors who do not have permanent resident status and who wish to register for the above meeting must supply additional information. Failure to provide this information prior to arrival will result, at a minimum, in significant delays in entering the facility. Authority to gather this information is derived from United States Department of Commerce Department Administrative Order (DAO) number 207-12.

*New Visitor Access Requirement: Effective July 21, 2014, under the REAL ID Act of 2005, agencies, including NIST, can only accept a state-issued driver's license or identification card from states that are REAL ID compliant or have an extension. See the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) site for the current compliance list

Created January 12, 2011, Updated March 23, 2021