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New Chemistry Laboratory Is First Step Toward 21st Century NIST

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology took its first step into the 21st century with today’s dedication of the new Advanced Chemical Sciences Laboratory in Gaithersburg, Md. Participating in the ceremony were Commerce Secretary William Daley, Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.) and Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan.

The $75 million, 18,588-square-meter (200,000-square-foot) ACSL was built to house the research programs of NIST’s Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory. Research by CSTL scientists long has benefited our nation’s health and environment, as well as industrial productivity and international trade. The new state-of-the-art ACSL features advanced designs that will help NIST meet 21st century needs for accurate chemical measurements, standards and methods used for pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical diagnosis, pollution monitoring and clean up, nutritional analysis and other chemical industries/sciences.

Among the features of the ACSL are 162 laboratory modules that can be reconfigured to meet special needs, 131 office modules, precise temperature and humidity control, high-capacity ventilation systems, an uninterruptible power supply, a high-purity water system, five clean rooms, two cold rooms, five non-metallic labs and advanced data transmission wiring.

Designer/builder for the ACSL is The Austin Company of Cleveland, Ohio. Construction began in February 1996. Construction management has been provided by CRSS Constructors Inc. (a member of the Jacobs Engineering Group) of Arlington, Va.

The completion of the ACSL is the first major step in the effort to upgrade NIST facilities used to conduct a wide range of advanced measurement research. President Clinton’s fiscal year 2000 budget request for NIST includes funding for the next major goal of the plan: construction of the Advanced Measurement Laboratory at the NIST Gaithersburg, Md., site.

The AML will allow NIST to provide U.S. industry and science with higher quality reference materials, improved measurements and standards, and more rapidly developed research advances. It will feature stringent controls on particulate matter, temperature, vibration and humidity that are unattainable in current NIST buildings. Such conditions are vital for housing the institute’s most advanced metrology, physics, chemistry, electronics, engineering and materials science research, and will enable NIST to keep pace with rapid developments in semiconductors, industrial robots, computers, pharmaceuticals and emerging technologies requiring molecular and atomic-level precision.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Released March 8, 1999, Updated November 27, 2017