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Local Resident Wins NIST Measurement Science Award

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has accorded its Allen V. Astin Measurement Science Award to E. Clayton Teague of GAITHERSBURG, Md., for his leadership in the design, construction and operation of the NIST Molecular Measuring Machine, the only instrument of its kind in the world.

Teague, an internationally known expert in the field of nanotechnology, and his team began work on M3 in the late 1980s. They aimed to develop a tool that could meet the U.S. microelectronics industry's most advanced measurement requirements in the late 1990s. Now in performance trials, "M3" is designed to measure within one nanometer (billionth of a meter), or about four or five silicon atoms the distance between two points over a square 50 millimeters on a side. The machine's range is roughly equivalent to a dollar bill folded in half. Scanning probe microscopes like the one housed within the innermost core of the onionlike M3 can glimpse individual atoms. But without M3's exacting navigation system, such microscopes can lose their way after traveling only about one-tenth of a millimeter (thousandth of a meter) roughly the diameter of a sand grain.

Teague is a native of Bowdon, Ga. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his doctoral degree from the University of North Texas.

The Astin Award, established in honor of NIST's fifth director, recognizes outstanding achievement in measurement science or in the delivery of measurement services.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards.

Released December 12, 1995, Updated November 27, 2017