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Richard A. Allen (Fed)

Richard A. Allen is a physicist in the Mass and Force Group in the Quantum Measurement Division of the Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). His research currently focuses on:

  • Metrology and standards for three dimensional stacked integrated circuits (3DS-IC)
  • Vibration calibration of accelerometers and vibration metrology
  • Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) integration

Mr. Allen is co-chair of the SEMI North America 3D Stacked IC Committee and chair of the Bonded Wafer Task Force of this committee. Since its founding in 2011, under Mr. Allen’s leadership this committee has completed fourteen standards related to three-dimensional packaging technologies. Three-dimensional packaging provides a tool for integrating disparate semiconductor, MEMS, and optical technologies to maximize performance, minimize space, and optimize power consumption. Mr. Allen has led inter-laboratory experiments to characterize bond strength, identify and characterize bond voids, and identify methods for safely shipping thin (sub-100 μm) silicon wafers, each of which led to new standards. Between 2011 and 2013, Mr. Allen was assigned to the SEMATECH 3D Enablement Center, where he worked directly with researchers from across the semiconductor industry to move 3D stacking from the laboratory to production. 

Mr. Allen leads the NIST vibration calibration service, which provides calibrations of accelerometers over the frequency range of 0.2 Hz – 20 kHz.  He also serves as a subject matter expert to ISO TC 108, Mechanical Vibration and Shock and Condition Monitoring/Use and Calibration of Vibration and Shock Measuring Instruments.

Prior to his current work in MEMS integration and vibration calibration, Mr. Allen’s research focused on the development of electrical-based methods and standards for dimensional metrology for VLSI, leading to dimensional standard artifacts, with dimensions determined using the atomic spacing as the ruler.  He also co-led a research project on MEMS robotics, which included the organization of a series of competitions to allow microrobotics researchers to interact and demonstrate their research to the wider community.

Prior to joining NIST in 1990, Mr. Allen was a member of the technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. At JPL, Mr. Allen's research focused on methods of measuring the effects of space radiation on semiconductor devices. A highlight of his work at JPL was the design and characterization of a VLSI test chip for inclusion on the SPACERAD Microelectronics Package of the NASA/U.S. Air Force Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite (CRRES). Twelve of Mr. Allen’s test chips, which contained blocks to characterize the effects of space radiation – both total dose and high-energy single events – on memory, timing, and transistor parameters were onboard CRRES when it was launched in July 1990 into a highly elliptical geosynchronous transfer orbit to allow for characterization of radiation effects throughout the range of orbits commonly experienced by satellites.

Mr. Allen was awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service twice, in 1998 and 2012 and was awarded the SEMI Honor Award for Outstanding Performance in the SEMI Standards Program in 2013.

Mr. Allen has over 100 publications including journal articles, conference proceedings, and book chapters as well as 11 U.S. patents. He has given numerous invited and contributed talks and tutorials on semiconductor and MEMS metrology. Mr. Allen has served at the International Conference on Microelectronic Test Structures as General Chair (2012), Technical Chair (2009), Tutorial Chair (2006), and as a member of the Technical Committee.  He has served on the steering committee of the MEMS Executive Congress and the MIG Member to Member Conference.

In addition to his research position at NIST, Mr. Allen serves the community surrounding NIST as a volunteer leader of Nymeo Federal Credit Union, where he is a Member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Supervisory Committee.

Mr. Allen is a member of the American Physical Society and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Selected Publications

RM 8111: Development of a Prototype Linewidth Standard

Michael W. Cresswell, William Gutherie, R. Dixon, Richard A. Allen, Christine E. Murabito, Joaquin (. Martinez
Staff of the Semiconductor Electronics Division, the Information Technology Laboratory, and the Precision Engineering Laboratory at NIST, in collaboration with


Optical-cavity-based primary sound standard

Akobuije Chijioke, Richard A. Allen, Steven E. Fick, David Long, Benjamin Reschovsky, Jared Strait, Randall P. Wagner
We propose an optical sound standard in which the sound pressure is directly measured by using an optical cavity to observe the induced change in the refractive

Intrinsically accurate sensing with an optomechanical accelerometer

Benjamin Reschovsky, David Long, Feng Zhou, Yiliang Bao, Richard A. Allen, Jason J. Gorman, Thomas W. LeBrun
We demonstrate a microfabricated optomechanical accelerometer that is capable of percent-level accuracy without external calibration. To achieve this capability

Patents (2018-Present)

Sound Pressure Metrology Instrument And Determining Sound Pressure From Index Of Refraction

NIST Inventors
Richard A. Allen , Randall P Wagner , Benjamin Reschovsky and Akobuije Chijioke
A sound pressure metrology instrument determines sound pressure from index of refraction and includes: a light source that produces source light; the optical cavity that: receives an acoustic field from the sound source; receives the source light from the light source; produces acoustic-modified

Interferometric Microphone Calibrator And Comparison Calibrating A Microphone

NIST Inventors
Richard A. Allen , Qian Dong and Randall P Wagner
An interferometric microphone calibrator for comparison calibrating a microphone, the interferometric microphone calibrator comprising: an interferometer in optical communication with a microphone and that produces an interferometer measurement light, communicates the interferometer measurement
Created October 9, 2019, Updated December 8, 2022