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Applied Physics Division

Our mission is to advance measurement science & technology in areas of critical importance to national priority needs, such as, advanced manufacturing, national security, quantum communications, strategic computing, and quantitative imaging. Photonics, magnetics, and imaging are transformative technologies where fundamental metrological basis is needed to address these national priority needs.

The Division's key competencies include radiometry, advanced communications, sensing, quantum measurements, quantitative imaging, spectroscopy, and laser safety. In addition, the Division operates a state-of-the-art precision imaging facility to characterize unique devices that improve measurement science, standards, and services. Division staff include world experts in laser metrology, quantum metrology, quantitative imaging, as well as photonic and magnetic applications. The Division's focus on a targeted set of technical challenges enables us to maximize impact and benefit from collaborations with industry, government, and university stakeholders.

Press Coverage

Cool Superconducting Camera Feels the Heat

Optics and Photonics News
Scientists have reportedly developed a superconducting camera with over two orders of magnitude more pixels than other similar devices.

Research Bits: October 31

Semiconductor Engineering
A team of researchers at the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) created a high-resolution single-photon superconducting camera

Taking Measure Blog

News and Updates

Projects and Programs

Advanced Magnetic Imaging

The scope of MRI is expanding with the development of both ultra-high field (14 T) and ultra-low field (0.1 mT) scanners not only for biomedical applications

Advanced Microwave Photonics

Research on quantum information (QI) seeks to control and exploit exotic properties of quantum mechanics, and researchers are already generating "unbreakable"


JB95 Spectral fitting program

A graphical user interface program, JB95 , based on a Windows 95 © API platform has been written in the C programming language to aid in the analysis of complex

SOEN Process Design Kits

This technology package, a.k.a process design kit (PDK), defines the NIST superconducting optoelectronics process: OLMAC. It is in the klayout format of

Tools and Instruments

Continuous-wave terahertz spectrometer

The continuous-wave terahertz spectrometer makes use of two near-infrared lasers. The first laser is a fixed-frequency cw ring Ti:Saph laser operating near 840

Nonlinear Optical Spectroscopy

Vibrationally-Resonant Sum Frequency Spectroscopy (VR-SFS): A nonlinear vibrational spectroscopy in which two colors of light, one in the visible and one in the

Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) Facility

The Applied Physics Division utilizes a fully automated, dual-chamber molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system for the growth of advanced, compound semiconductor


2022 - Arthur S. Flemming Award---John Teufel

Dr. Teufel is a world leader in the field of quantum optomechanics. His innovations over the last decade have tested fundamental physics and will help enable the future of quantum information.


Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting Thermometry

NIST Inventors
Kathryn Keenan and Megan Poorman
A method for temperature quantification using magnetic resonance fingerprinting (MRF) includes acquiring MRF data from a region of interest in a subject using an MRF pulse sequence with smoothly varying RF phase for MR resonant frequencies that is played out continuously. For each of a plurality of

Fiber-To-Chip Coupler

NIST Inventors
Jeff Shainline and Saeed Khan
A fiber-to-chip coupler includes a substrate, a waveguide on a top surface of the substrate, an optical fiber axially aligned to the waveguide, and a cap. The waveguide has a uniform region with uniform width and a tapered-waveguide region having a width that adiabatically increases from a minimum

Quantum Waveguide Infrared Photodetector

NIST Inventors
Eric Stanton
A novel quantum well infrared photodetector (QWIP) is proposed, which provides an unprecedented signal-to-noise ratio compared any other infrared detector. The key feature is the ability to inject light in the absorbing regions in the plane of the detector material layers, rather than surface normal


Division Chief