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Optical Radiation Group

Maintains, improves, and disseminates the Nation's radiometric and photometric scales for the measurement of optical radiation.

The group’s mission is to maintain, improve, and disseminate the Nation's radiometric and photometric scales for the measurement of optical radiation. The group members participate in national and international standards organizations and intercomparisons to ensure acceptance of U.S. optical radiation standards; conduct research to advance the calibration and validation of optical remote-sensing instruments, the measurement of the photometric performance of the human vision system. Applications include manufacturing, remote sensing, solid-state lighting, defense, and homeland security.


  • Documentary Standards
    The group’s staff actively participate in and lead the development of Documentary Standards through various Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) by providing the necessary expertise, fundamental measurement science and advanced technologies. We engage with the following SDOs: NEMA, ASTM, CIE, IES, ISO, ASHRAE, IEEE-IAS, IEC, & ASABE.


The Optical Radiation Group welcomes opportunities to collaborate on joint research, technology, and standards development projects to advance the characterization of the photometry and radiometry. The group provides multiple opportunities for students, scientists, industry, academia, and other R&D laboratories to collaborate. Specific opportunities depend on current areas of interest within the Group, but may include undergraduate research fellowship, postdoctoral fellowships, visiting scientist, and guest researchers as well as various cooperative research arrangements ranging from formal agreements, such as CRADA, Consortia, and interagency agreements, to informal collaborations. For more details, see Employment and Internship Opportunities and Collaboration Opportunities.

Projects and Programs

Night Vision Goggle Gain Calibration

NIST cooperates with the three services (Air Force, Navy, and Army) to realize a uniform night vision goggle (NVG) calibration system with low measurement

Detector metrology

High performance optical radiometers with selected optical detectors are being designed, characterized, and calibrated in the Optical Radiation Group for the

Tools and Instruments

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

Universe in the Balance

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have found a way to link measurements made by a device integral to microchip


A review of protocols for Fiducial Reference Measurements of water-leaving radiance for validation of satellite remote sensing data over water

Kevin Ruddick, Emmanuel Boss, Alexandre Castagna, Robert Frouin, Alex Gilerson, Martin Hieronymi, Bettye C. Johnson, Joel Kuusk, Zhongping Lee, Michael Ondrusek, Viktor Vabson, Riho Vendt, Kenneth Voss, Giuseppe Zibordi
This paper reviews the state of the art of protocols for measurement of water-leaving radiance in the context of Fiducial Reference Measurements (FRM) of water



Group Leader

Office Manager