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.

Nanometer Resolution Metrology with the NIST Molecular Measuring Machine



John A. Kramar


Nanometre accuracy and resolution metrology over technically relevant areas is becoming a necessity for the progress of nanomanufacturing. At the National Institute of Standards and Technology, we are developing the Molecular Measuring Machine, a scanned probe microscope (SPM) and Michelson interferometer based metrology instrument, designed to achieve nanometre measurement uncertainty for point-to-point measurements over a 50 mm by 50 mm working area. The salient design features are described, along with example measurements that demonstrate the measurement capabilities so far achieved. Both long-range measurements of sub-micrometre pitch gratings over 10 mm, and short-range, high-resolution measurements of a molecular crystal lattice have been accomplished. The estimated relative measurement uncertainty so far attained for pitch measurements is 6 x 10^(-5), coverage factor k = 2. We have also used this instrument and scanning probe oxidation lithography for creating some simple nanometre dimension patterns that could serve as prototype calibration standards, utilizing the SPM probe tip positioning accuracy.
Measurement Science & Technology


calibration, grating, Michelson interferometer, nanometrology, STM, vacuum


Kramar, J. (2005), Nanometer Resolution Metrology with the NIST Molecular Measuring Machine, Measurement Science & Technology, [online], (Accessed March 5, 2024)
Created September 23, 2005, Updated February 19, 2017