Engineering Physics Division
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The Engineering Physics Division is based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and operates within the Physical Measurement Laboratory at NIST.
The Division promotes U.S. industrial innovation through the development of a world-class physical measurement infrastructure specifically relevant to realizing length traceability and underpinning future electronics. We work with industry and standards organizations to develop new and improved measurement science and standards for industries involving dimensional and electronics metrology.
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- Hall Effect
The history of the Hall effect begins in 1879 when Edwin H. Hall discovered that a small transverse voltage appeared across a current-carrying thin metal strip in an applied magnetic field. Until that time, electrical measurements provided only the carrier density-mobility product, and the separation of these two important physical quantities had to rely on other difficult measurements. The discovery of the Hall effect enabled a direct measure of the carrier density. The polarity of this transverse Hall voltage proved that it is in fact electrons that are physically moving in an electric current. Development of the technique has since led to a mature and practical tool, which today is used routinely for characterizing the electrical properties and quality of almost all of the semiconductor materials used by industry and in research labs throughout the world.