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Sensor Science Division

The Division advances the measurement science, standards, and applications for dimensional, optical radiation, and thermodynamic quantities to support U.S. industry and trade. We maintain and disseminate standards for three of the seven SI base units: the kelvin (temperature), the meter (length), and the candela (luminous intensity).

Welcome to the Sensor Science Division

The Sensor Science Division (SSD) is based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and operates within the Physical Measurement Laboratory at NIST.

SSD has institutional responsibility for the realization and dissemination of 3 of the 7 base units of the International System of Units (SI), the meter, the kelvin, and the candela. To promote world-wide standardization, SSD staff engage with the Consultative Committees for Length (CCL), for Mass and Related Quantities (CCM), for Photometry and Radiometry (CCPR), and for Thermometry (CCT) under the International Committee for Weights (CIPM). This participation helps ensure the international comparability and international recognition of the SI-based measurements and standards disseminated by the Division. As pictured below, the division is divided into 3 technical areas which align with these 3 base SI units.

sensor science division flowchart

The division provides measurement science, reference materials, reference data, and technologies to foster innovation and confidence in measurements needed to advance these fields. In partnership with U.S. industry, government agencies, and scientific institutions, SSD performs fundamental and applied research on the measurement of length; temperature; infrared-to-extreme-ultraviolet radiation; pressure and vacuum; surface and interface optical and dimensional properties; gas and liquid flow; liquid volume; and humidity.

News and Updates

Shrinking (Ultra)Violet

While awaiting full access to their labs due to COVID-19 restrictions, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have taken this

Spotlight: SURF and Solar Storms

When the surface of the Sun erupts, it emits dangerous particles that can knock out GPS and communication links on our planet, but the rain of particles from a

Industry Impacts

Reliable Vaccine Storage

As much as 35 percent of vaccines shipped worldwide is wasted because it is transported or stored at temperatures too high or too low. NIST’s research is

Flow Meters for Natural Gas Delivery

The accuracy of flow meters measuring natural gas has enormous commercial importance. NIST is developing a new technique to calibrate large flows at high

Awards

Contacts

Division Chief

Office Manager