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Nanoscale Device Characterization Division

The Nanoscale Device Characterization Division (NDCD) transforms nano- and atom-scale technologies by advancing measurement science and fundamental knowledge.

The Nanoscale Device Characterization Division (NDCD) is based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and operates within the Physical Measurement Laboratory at NIST.

The Division's mission is to  develop and advance the measurement and knowledge infrastructure to characterize nano- and atom-scale engineered materials and solid-state devices for innovation in information processing, sensing, and future quantum technologies.

The NDCD’s technical activities span atom scale devices, nanoscale spectroscopy, nanoscale imaging, nanoscale processes and measurements, and alternative computing.

Programmatic Thrusts

Alternative and Future Computing

We explore measurement problems in neuromorphic computing by: developing measurements for neuromorphic devices, fabricating and testing neuromorphic circuits, and exploring new architectures and algorithms both theoretically and in prototypes.

"Local" Measurements of Physical Processes in Solid-State Nanoscale and Quantum Devices and Systems

We develop near field optical spectroscopy with nanoscale spatial resolution at cryogenic temperatures that is complimentary to our world class STM program and provide NIST with new measurement science to characterize nanoengineered quantum systems and devices.

Physics and Engineering of Atom-Based Solid-State Nanoscale Devices, Materials, and Systems

We develop the knowledge, measurements, and nano- and atomscale fabrication methods to engineer systems and devices with emergent quantum behavior.

News and Updates

NIST Scientists Get Soft on 3D Printing

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new method of 3D-printing gels and other soft materials. Published in


Of Interest

  • 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.


Division Chief

General Information