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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

Quantitative Information from Images

Photographs, or optical light images, are spatial records of light reflected or emitted from objects. Thus, they are prospective light measurements. In many

Metrology of Dim Light Sources

Luminescent tags are molecular highlighters. They enable light-based biological assays, visualize biological processes, and are used as diagnostic and

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

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



Yuqin Zong, Ping-Shine Shaw, Joseph Rice, C Cameron Miller
To shorten the long calibration chain when using the conventional source-based approach and therefore to reduce spectroradiometer's calibration uncertainty, we


Yuqin Zong, Weiqiang Zhao, C Cameron Miller
A large-chip standard LED with superior long-term stability have been developed at NIST. The standard LED uses a large, specialty die rated for 50 W but is

Recent research and development in photometry at NIST

Yuqin Zong, Maria Nadal, Benjamin K. Tsai, C Cameron Miller
Many developments were made in recent years in photometry at NIST for reducing measurement uncertainties, increasing calibration efficiencies, and adding



Group Leader

Office Manager