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Marla L. Dowell (Fed)

Director of CHIPS R&D Metrology Program and NIST Boulder Laboratory

Marla Dowell is Director of CHIPS R&D Metrology and NIST Boulder Laboratory. Dowell will expand and advance NIST’s efforts to deliver a robust measurement science foundation for the semiconductor industry. Most recently, she served as director of the NIST Communications Technology Laboratory, the leading national laboratory for advanced communications standards and measurements. Dowell began her NIST career as a researcher in the field of optical metrology for photolithography. Her work has enabled better optical measurements for photodynamic therapy to treat cancer, laser safety, communications and manufacturing. 

Dowell has served the broader NIST community as a member of the NIST Assessment Review Board, NIST Safety Council, and the NIST People Council. For over 15 years, she has served as a mentor in NIST leadership programs. She has represented NIST on national and international standards committees for optics and photonics as well as external advisory committees on research innovation, photonics, and communications. Dowell has been recognized for her work fostering collaborations and leading high-performance research organizations with numerous awards, including the Department of Commerce Silver Medal, NIST’s Allen V. Astin Award, and the Arthur S. Flemming Award from George Washington University. 

Dr. Dowell is a fellow of SPIE, senior member of IEEE, and a member of AAAS, and APS.


2019 OSA Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Reognition
2016 SPIE Women in Optics
2012 Allen V. Astin Award
2010 Arthur S. Flemming Award
2005 NIST Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity Award
2005 Department of Commerce Silver Medal
2000 Judson C. French Award



Radio Spectrum Occupancy Measurements Amid COVID-19 Telework and Telehealth

Dan Kuester, Xifeng Lu, Dazhen Gu, Azizollah Kord, Jake Rezac, Katie Carson, Marla L. Dowell, Elizabeth Eyeson, Ari Feldman, Keith Forsyth, Vu Le, John Marts, Mike McNulty, Kyle Neubarth, Andre Rosete, Matthew Ryan, Maija Teraslina
During the COVID-19 pandemic, NIST began a targeted campaign of measurements of averaged power and occupancy rate in the radio spectrum. The purpose was to

A Planar Hyperblack Absolute Radiometer

John H. Lehman, Michelle S. Stephens, Malcolm G. White, Andreas Steiger, Christian Monte, Joerg Hollandt, Ivan Ryger, Mathias Kehrt, Marla L. Dowell
The absolute responsivity of a planar radiometer fabricated from micromachined silicon and having carbon nanotubes as the absorber and thermistor was measured

Laser Welding of Dual-Phase Galvanized Sheet Steel

Stephanie L. Miller, Erik A. Pfeif, Andrei F. Kazakov, Esther Baumann, Marla L. Dowell
Laser welding has many advantages over traditional joining methods, but remains underutilized. NIST has undertaken an initiative to improve predictions of
Created July 30, 2019, Updated August 8, 2023