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Bryan Barnes (Fed)

Dr. Barnes is a Physicist in the Nanoscale Device Characterization Division (NDCD) of the Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He develops new approaches to optics-based measurements and electromagnetic modeling to enable improved metrology of nanoscale structures with dimensions more than an order of magnitude below traditional resolution limits. His current research seeks solutions to anticipated limitations of optical measurements of nanometer scale features over large areas, which are critical for the effective manufacturing process control of products that incorporate billions of nanoscale features. He is currently the Project Lead of the recently funded “EUV Scatterometry” project that seeks to translate the state-of-the-art spectroscopic ellipsometric capabilities from longer, visible and ultraviolet wavelengths to much shorter wavelengths. Reducing the wavelength should benefit critical dimension metrology for nanoelectronics, potentially yielding non-destructive process control solutions for the next several generations of transistors in nanoelectronics.

His prior research has centered upon methods to extend optical microscopy to near-atomic scales, including atomistic simulation of dielectric constants, machine learning for defect inspection, and simulations of reduced wavelengths beyond the deep-ultraviolet. He has also provided key optical measurements of overlay offset between subsequent patterned layers in support of NDCD’s Atom Device Group. Dr. Barnes has previously led the Quantitative Nanoscale Imaging Through Artificial Intelligence project and the Optical Methods for 3-D Nanostructure Metrology projects.

Dr. Barnes has authored more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and 40 conference publications, presents invited talks at both academic and industrial conferences, and holds 1 patent. He serves as the Chair of the North American Chapter of the SEMI Standards Microlithography Committee and is a Voting Member of the SEMI North American Regional Standards Committee and is a member of the IEEE and Senior Member of SPIE. Most recently, he is a co-recipient of a 2016 Department of Commerce Silver Medal “for pioneering advances in optics, imaging structures 30 times smaller than the wavelength of light with near atomic accuracy.” He is also a co-recipient of the 2013 R&D 100 Award for "Quantitative Hybrid Metrology," a new method that enhances multiple measuring instruments by tying them together statistically in novel combinations.

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Research Opportunities in "EUV sCATTEROMETRY"

A multi-laboratory, multi-disciplinary team of experimentalists and theorists has recently received funding to develop a revolutionary tool that will use extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) radiation to inspect integrated circuits (ICs) on the nanometer scale. The tool will be built and evaluated on the NIST Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation (SURF III) light source. It will be further developed and refined to use a high-harmonic-generation (HHG) source, making it suitable for use in an IC fabrication facility. This new technique will fill a critical gap in existing measurement solutions by characterizing next generation structures with both chemical sensitivity and sub-nm precision. This will extend light-based chip inspection for several years beyond its current viability.

We are seeking several recent graduates (Master’s degree or PhD) with expertise in one or more of the following areas: Simulation and analysis of light interactions with patterned materials; design, construction, automation, and operation of complex optical and mechanical equipment; commissioning and operation of ultrafast laser systems; ultrahigh vacuum systems; optical properties of materials and interaction of light with matter. Potential roles include:

  1. Electromagnetic simulations to understand interactions of EUV radiation with materials.
  2. Experiments at SURF-III where the novel scatterometer will be designed and constructed for spectroscopic ellipsometry.     
  3. Experiments in a new NIST laboratory-based VUV+EUV high harmonic generation (HHG source) where techniques from SURF-III will be expanded upon to make measurements of patterned nanoscale semiconductors.
  4. Computations of electromagnetic scattering from patterned semiconductors to determine the dimensional and materials properties from the measured data (an inverse problem). 
  5. Investigations into the role that transition edges at sub-50 nm wavelengths can play in decoupling parametric correlations among materials, to better solve for these nanoscale dimensions quantitatively.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining this multidisciplinary team, or if you would like further information, please contact me (bryan.barnes [at] (bryan[dot]barnes[at]nist[dot]gov), 301-975-3947). 

The Department of Commerce is an Equal Opportunity Employer. For additional details, see

This research will be performed at the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, MD, USA.


Multi-scale alignment to buried atom-scale devices using Kelvin probe force microscopy

Pradeep Namboodiri, Jonathan Wyrick, Gheorghe Stan, Xiqiao Wang, Fan Fei, Ranjit Kashid, Scott Schmucker, Richard Kasica, Bryan Barnes, Michael Stewart, Richard M. Silver
Fabrication of quantum devices by atomic scale patterning with a Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) has led to the development of single/few atom transistors
Created April 7, 2019, Updated December 7, 2023