Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Metrological Tools for the Reference Materials and Reference Instruments of the NIST Material Measurement Laboratory



Carlos R. Beauchamp, Johanna Camara, Jennifer Carney, Steven J. Choquette, Kenneth D. Cole, Paul C. DeRose, David L. Duewer, Michael Epstein, Margaret C. Kline, Katrice Lippa, Enrico Lucon, Karen W. Phinney, Maria Polakoski, Antonio Possolo, Katherine E. Sharpless, John R. Sieber, Blaza Toman, Michael R. Winchester, Donald Windover


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), formerly the National Bureau of Standards, was established by the U.S. Congress in 1901 and charged with establishing a measurement foundation to facilitate U.S. and international commerce. NIST provides reference materials and reference instruments that are used to ensure the accuracy, metrological traceability, and comparability of measurement results in many diverse fields of science, industry, and technology. Responding to the recent emphasis on quality system documentation for facilitating trade and effective decision-making, this document provides and explains the vocabulary used at NIST to define and describe the reference materials and reference instruments available to our customers as well as documenting the methods used in developing these materials. The definitions and descriptions provided supersede those used in the original version of this publication, NIST SP260 136
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 260-136-2020
Report Number


Certification, Primary Standards, Reference Instruments, Reference Materials, Standard Reference Materials


Beauchamp, C. , Camara, J. , Carney, J. , Choquette, S. , Cole, K. , DeRose, P. , Duewer, D. , Epstein, M. , Kline, M. , Lippa, K. , Lucon, E. , Phinney, K. , Polakoski, M. , Possolo, A. , Sharpless, K. , Sieber, J. , Toman, B. , Winchester, M. and Windover, D. (2020), Metrological Tools for the Reference Materials and Reference Instruments of the NIST Material Measurement Laboratory, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 18, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created July 14, 2020, Updated October 12, 2021