From optical lithography for semiconductor manufacturing to the micromachining of small structures, lasers are key elements in an increasingly diverse number of applications. In support of these applications, the Applied Physics Division provides measurement services at laser power levels from nanowatts to kilowatts and pulse energy levels from femtojoules to megajoules. Wavelength ranges include the standard ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared laser lines. In addition to standard laser lines, the Division has a tunable laser ensemble that can provide measurements at additional laser wavelengths upon request.
Since 1967, the Applied Physics Division and its predecessors have provided traceable measurements of detectors and power meters used to determine the output power or energy of lasers. These measurements are based upon a family of standards in which the temperature rise resulting from absorbed optical power or energy is compared to that caused by dissipated electrical power or energy. Thus they are traceable to SI units through electrical standards of voltage and resistance. Each standard - the Applied Physics Division currently uses eight - is designed for a particular range of power or energy level for cw or pulsed radiation, and a particular range of wavelengths, as shown below. This assembly of standards and measurement systems represents the best overall capability of its kind in the world and has been recognized by numerous awards, e.g., the Allen V. Astin Award, the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer Award, the Arthur S. Flemming Award, the Judson C. French Award, as well as the Department of Commerce Silver and Gold Medals.