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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 2 Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 PANEL MEMBERS Ralph K.Cavin III, Semiconductor Research Corporation, Chair Lori S.Nye, Consultant, Mountain View, California, Vice Chair Thomas E.Anderson, Airtron, Division of Litton Systems, Inc. Constance J.Chang-Hasnain, University of California at Berkeley Jack H.Corley, Advanced Technology Institute Jerome J.Cuomo, North Carolina State University Russell D.Dupuis, University of Texas at Austin Thomas J.Gramila, Ohio State University Donald B.Keck, Corning, Inc. David C.Larbalestier, University of Wisconsin-Madison Tingye Li, AT&T Research (retired) Tso-Ping Ma, Yale University Solomon Max, LTX Corporation Robert C.McDonald, Intel Corporation (retired) Bruce Melson, GE Aircraft Engines Terry P.Orlando, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ghery S.Pettit, Intel Corporation Robert Rottmayer, Seagate Research Douglas K.Rytting, Agilent Technologies, Inc. Dennis E.Speliotis, ADE Technologies, Inc. Peter W.Staecker, Consultant, Lexington, Massachusetts Dale J.Van Harlingen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign John A.Wehrmeyer, Quality Consultants of New York H.Lee Willis, ABB Power T&D Company Donald L.Wollesen, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (retired) Submitted for the panel by its Chair, Ralph K.Cavin III, and its Vice Chair, Lori S.Nye, this assessment of the fiscal year 2001 activities of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory is based on site visits by individual panel members, a formal meeting of the panel on February 15–16, 2001, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and documents provided by the laboratory.1 1 National Institute of Standards and Technology, Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory, Summary of 2000 Project Status Reports (10/1/1999–9/30/2000), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., January 29, 2001. See also Programs, Activities, and Accomplishments books for each division.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 LABORATORY-LEVEL REVIEW Technical Merit According to laboratory documentation, the mission of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory is to strengthen the U.S. economy and improve the quality of life by providing measurement science and technology and by advancing standards, primarily for the electronics and electrical industries. The EEEL mission statement is a revised version of the 2000 mission statement and is more closely aligned with the NIST mission statement. The panel endorses the emphasis on the role of EEEL in improving the quality of life for citizens and agrees with the importance given to the laboratory’s role in the creation of metrology standards. Moreover, the mission statements of the EEEL divisions conform with the new EEEL mission statement. In the past year, EEEL focused intensely on making strategic planning a critical component of laboratory management activities. The result of this effort is a revised 5-year strategic plan for the laboratory,2 clear vision and mission statements, and a short but appropriate list of values. These basic documents together define the basic priorities of the laboratory in a manner that allows management and staff to select projects to be pursued based on objective criteria including customer need, relevance to the mission, and likelihood of success. The strategic plan enunciates four overarching goals for the laboratory: strengthen the foundation for all electrical measurements, provide the measurement capability required for a world-class electronics industry, provide the measurement capability required for a world-class electrical industry, and provide technical support for law enforcement. Each of these goals is supported by several objectives, with performance metrics, and the plan and its goals relate well to the missions of the laboratory’s individual divisions and offices. The Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory is organized into six divisions and two offices: Electricity Division, Semiconductor Electronics Division, Radio-Frequency Technology Division, Electromagnetic Technology Division, Optoelectronics Division, Magnetic Technology Division, Office of Microelectronics Programs, and Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) (see Figure 2.1). Each division and the Office of Law Enforcement Standards are reviewed in individual sections later in this chapter. This year, the Office of Microelectronics Programs is reviewed in a separate chapter of this report, as part of a special assessment of microelectronics activities throughout the NIST Measurement and Standards Laboratories. The Magnetic Technology Division is a new unit this year; it contains magnetic and superconducting materials programs split off from the Electromagnetic Technology Division. The panel supports the decision to reorganize the laboratory in this manner and notes that the transition seems to have gone smoothly, and that staff morale has been significantly improved. A minor concern is the potential confusion that the names of these two divisions might produce in people outside NIST; the names are very similar, and the Electromagnetic Technology Division title does not clearly reflect the current activities in that division. During the assessment, the panel reviewed a wide range of technical programs in all of the divisions. There were many examples of excellence, due mainly to the efforts of the high-quality staff who are the 2 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2001–2006, NISTIR 6712, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., February 2001.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 FIGURE 2.1 Organizational structure of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory. Listed under each division are the division’s groups. primary resource of EEEL. Some achievements of the laboratory are described below, and more details on the technical accomplishments can be found in the divisional reports contained later in this chapter. In the Electricity Division, exceptional progress has been made on the electronic kilogram project, which aims to use a watt balance apparatus to define an alternative to the artifactual kilogram standard; high-impact and ingenious work is occurring on characterizing flat panel displays; resistance calibration capabilities were expanded up to the 100 TΩ level; and cutting-edge investigations into the role of single-electron tunneling technologies in metrology continue. In the Semiconductor Electronics Division, staff are designing test structures based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to measure stress and strain of thin films on integrated circuit (IC) structures, developing scanning capacitance microscopy measurement techniques and related software for two-dimensional dopant profiling, developing test systems for characterization of silicon carbide devices, and producing oxide reliability standards that have been adopted by U.S. industry as well as foreign standards organizations and companies. In the Radio-Frequency Technology Division, proactive efforts on standards for fixed broadband wireless systems will help accelerate deployment of this new technology, and new and
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 general methods of characterizing nonlinear devices and components for digital wireless communications are being developed and transferred to industrial laboratories. In the Electromagnetic Technology Division, a new capacitance standard is based on using a single electron pump device to count electrons delivered to a capacitive structure; the use of bolometer arrays to detect concealed weapons is being investigated; and the work on the single photon turnstile has potential implication for the fields of quantum computing and communications. In the Optoelectronics Division, metrology is being developed in the ultraviolet (UV) regime in anticipation of the evolution to 157-nm lithography by the semiconductor industry; study of InGaAs quantum dots is focused on preparing for future standards development for such nanostructures; and work on a time-domain electrooptic sampling technique for calibrating oscilloscopes is laying the groundwork for increasing measurement bandwidth beyond 40 GHz, perhaps up as far as 110 GHz. In the Magnetic Technology Division, staff are using the new microfabrication capabilities in Boulder to construct a “magnetometer-on-a-chip” for measuring many fundamental magnetic parameters on a nanometer scale; magnetodynamics work is leading to a deeper understanding of high-speed switching phenomena, which in turn has inspired an innovative new project on spintronics; and NIST provided unique facilities and expertise for testing of superconductors to be used in high-energy physics experiments and in the program to develop high-temperature superconductors for electric power technology. In the Office of Law Enforcement Standards, NIST staff supervise a wide array of high-quality, customer-driven programs in weapons and protective systems, detection and enforcement technologies, chemical systems and materials, forensic services, and public safety communication standards. Program Relevance and Effectiveness EEEL strives to ensure that the projects undertaken are responsive to the metrology needs of the laboratory’s customers, which include industry, scientific research communities, and other government agencies. Divisional staff interact with these customers in a variety of ways to get input on industrial needs and the current state of the art and to disseminate information about EEEL programs, services, and results. Recently, the acting director of NIST began emphasizing the importance of also “closing the loop” with customers by seeking their direct evaluation of the quality and relevance of NIST work upon completion of a task. The panel commends this initiative as it will provide yet more input to help maintain the relevance of EEEL programs. Each division of EEEL serves industry differently, so the range of mechanisms for customer interactions is quite broad. Some examples are listed below to illustrate the variety and effectiveness of these methods for determining customer need and disseminating NIST results. EEEL staff are very active in standards organizations and participate in a large number of standards committees (for example, one serves as chair of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [IEEE] Committee on Broadband Wireless Access and another as task force leader for the International Electrotechnical Commission [IEC] Committee on Power Quality Measurements). The divisions work with a number of government agencies and interact closely with the research communities of those agencies (examples are the measurement of superconductors used in high-energy physics experiments for the Department of Energy [DOE] and the investigation of bolometer arrays for high-frequency radio astronomy for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]). In a similar vein, OLES staff are continually reaching out to the law enforcement community with technical advice and relevant standards. NIST also takes the lead in organizing key workshops and conferences (for example, the biennial Symposium on Optical Fiber Measurements and the biennial International Conference on Characterization and Metrology for ULSI Technology). Divisional calibration services staff have direct
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 interactions with their customers, which can result in technical improvements with an immediate impact (for example, the development of a new coaxial radiometer for noise-temperature measurements that expanded the range of services provided and reduced the time per calibration). Staff also are involved with industry-sector roadmapping activities like those put together by the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA), and the National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative; they partner directly with industry consortia such as International SEMATECH and the National Storage Industry Consortium (NSIC) and participate in professional organizations like the IEEE. This range of interactions produces an array of programs that are responsive to customer needs. The panel commends EEEL on its efforts to ensure the relevance of its programs but notes that although the basic exploratory research ongoing in the laboratory today accounts for only a small percentage of the laboratory’s work, it is a necessary element of the NIST portfolio. Such basic research is intended to both enhance the professional competence of the staff and to anticipate the needs of industry. EEEL management should continue to support exploratory programs, even in the face of significant budget pressures, because they contribute to the intellectually vigorous environment, which enhances employee morale and retention and provides the knowledge and experience necessary for NIST to maintain its position as a international technical leader in measurement and standards technologies. Laboratory Resources Funding sources for the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory are shown in Table 2.1. As of January 2001, staffing for the EEEL included 244 full-time permanent positions, of which 206 were for technical professionals. There were also 27 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and temporary or part-time workers. It appears that in fiscal year 2001, EEEL will see an increase of approximately 5 percent in total funding. However, governmentally mandated cost-of-living adjustments to salaries consume a significant portion of any additional funds, making it difficult for the divisions to recruit new staff. Indeed, the number of full-time permanent staff in EEEL has dropped by 10 percent in the past 2 years, mainly because departing personnel have not been replaced. In some divisions, these departures are due to retirements, but in other areas, NIST employees have left for more lucrative opportunities in the private sector. In these cases, finding replacements is not just a matter of funding to support the new hires but also a question of how to recruit high-quality technical staff in a very tight labor market. In any case, the overall decrease in laboratory staff has resulted in a growing number of areas in which there is single-point coverage; this situation is risky, as entire programs can be delayed or ended if one particular employee is lost. Spreading personnel so thin may also affect morale, as staff can feel isolated without contact with other experts in their field. This point is a particular issue for younger staff members, who need technical and professional mentoring from more senior personnel and who are more likely to be concerned that flat budgets portend serious problems for the long-term viability of the laboratory. The morale throughout the laboratory is also affected by the number of key management positions filled by acting personnel. Having permanent staff in these positions would provide a sense of stability. Another way in which the laboratory’s shortage of funds impacts technical performance is problems with equipment. The industries supported by EEEL continually require more accurate measurements and more precise techniques, and the cost of the instruments necessary to support the development of advanced metrology is increasing substantially. The current annual capital equipment budget for EEEL is approximately $3.8 million, which is not adequate for the instrumentation purchases and upgrades needed to maintain core technologies, let alone for the purchase of equipment needed for EEEL projects in new areas.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 TABLE 2.1 Sources of Funding for the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (in millions of dollars), FY 1998 to FY 2001 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1998 (actual) Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (actual) Fiscal Year 2001 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 31.5 33.2 32.5 33.8 Competence 2.2 1.9 2.1 1.8 ATP 2.1 1.9 1.4 1.7 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 OA/NFG/CRADA 10.2 10.9 13.8 15.3 Other Reimbursable 2.9 2.7 2.8 2.6 Total 49.0 50.7 52.7 55.4 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 270 270 259 244 NOTE: Funding for the NIST Measurement and Standards Laboratories comes from a variety of sources. The laboratories receive appropriations from Congress, known as Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) funding. Competence funding also comes from NIST’s congressional appropriations but is allocated by the NIST director’s office in multiyear grants for projects that advance NIST’s capabilities in new and emerging areas of measurement science. Advanced Technology Program (ATP) funding reflects support from NIST' s ATP for work done at the NIST laboratories in collaboration with or in support of ATP projects. Funding to support production of Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) is tied to the use of such products and is classified as Measurement Services. NIST laboratories also receive funding through grants or contracts from other government agencies (OA), from nonfederal government (NFG) agencies, and from industry in the form of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). All other laboratory funding, including that for Calibration Services, is grouped under “Other Reimbursable.” aThe number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year. In an effort to work around this problem, laboratory staff often construct their own equipment, even when it is commercially available. While this approach saves capital equipment funds, it interferes with the effective deployment of staff time and efforts and reduces productivity. The lack of equipment comparable to that possessed by industry or by other national measurement institutes also impacts staff morale. EEEL is encouraged by the panel to devise creative ways to work with industry and other government agencies to obtain some of the needed instrumentation or access to that instrumentation. Overall, EEEL’s facilities in both Gaithersburg and Boulder continue to be marginal at best. There were some areas of improvement in 2000. In Boulder, clean rooms with microfabrication capabilities are now fully operational, and remodeling of several of the large laboratories for the Radio-Frequency Technology Division is nearly complete. In Gaithersburg, EEEL management has been supportive of OLES efforts to arrange for a ballistics facility, and the Semiconductor Electronics Division has finished restoring its clean room. However, serious problems still exist on both campuses. In Boulder, temperatures in the laboratories can vary widely in the course of just one day. The open air test site is becoming increasingly affected by electromagnetic contamination from the growing pervasiveness of new technologies like wireless communications and high-definition television. In Gaithersburg, the laboratory buildings are in reasonable shape, considering their age. However, these facilities were certainly not designed to have the temperature, air quality, or vibration control or power stability needed to support
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 the metrology needs of modern electronic systems. While the panel is certainly pleased that work has begun on the Advanced Measurement Laboratory at Gaithersburg, this facility is not scheduled to be completed until 2004. In the meantime, innovative solutions are needed to meet the varied clean room requirements that are mandatory to sustain metrology development in the divisions at Gaithersburg. The bottom-line consequence of the difficult budget situation in EEEL is that the divisions are finding it more and more difficult to effectively serve the needs of the electronics and electrical industries, one of the highest value-added sectors in the U.S. economy. In each division, there are examples of projects that would fulfill key measurement and standards needs of industry if EEEL had the resources to pursue them. In some cases, these are areas in which NIST has had to scale back existing programs. In the Electricity Division, NIST is now planning to rely on the Canadian National Research Council to supply some 60-Hz voltage metrology services. In the Semiconductor Electronics Division, NIST was a leader in providing test structures for evaluating the reliability of aluminum interconnect systems, but as the semiconductor industry has moved to copper interconnect systems, EEEL has been unable to find the funding or the personnel to develop similar test structures for copper. In other cases, NIST simply cannot fund programs in new areas that will be critical to meeting industrial measurements and standards needs. In the Optoelectronics Division, the current program portfolio would be enhanced by work on planar optics, optical MEMS metrology, optical data storage, the semiconductor lighting initiative, and bio-optics. Indeed, in this area, the panel continues to stridently call for funding for the proposed Office of Optoelectronics Programs, which would help EEEL support a growing industry and coordinate work in this area through the NIST Measurements and Standards Laboratories. In the Magnetic Technology Division, flux standards for magnetic recording media are needed, as are standards for high-temperature superconductors at power frequencies, and the work on spintronics and perpendicular recording technologies could be expanded. In the Electromagnetic Technology Division, preliminary research on several promising new ideas for quantum-based standards is now reaching fruition, and the next step, practical implementation of the standards, will require additional resources. In the Radio-Frequency Technology Division, the primary issue is access to the equipment and facilities needed to perform high-accuracy measurements. The panel is not suggesting that the above work is more important than the laboratory’s current activities. Rather, it is calling attention to the cost to the U.S. economy that is being incurred because NIST is severely limited in the projects that it can take on. The work done in EEEL is unique for a variety of reasons, either because of the technical expertise available in the divisions, the focus on measurement technologies, or NIST’s reputation as an objective, technically informed, neutral party. Some of the laboratory’s services could not be provided elsewhere; for example certain international standards require traceability to a national measurement institute. The panel believes that while NIST is effectively managing its limited resources, flat budgets and exploding industry needs are simply overwhelming its capacity to meet all of the high-priority needs of its customers. DIVISIONAL REVIEWS Electricity Division Technical Merit According to division documentation, the mission of the Electricity Division is to provide the world’s most technically advanced and fundamentally sound basis for all electrical measurements in the United States. To accomplish this mission, the Electricity Division’s programs involve three principal
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 elements: realizing the International System (SI) of electrical units, developing improved measurement methods and calibration services, and supporting the measurements and standard infrastructure needed by U.S. industry to develop new products, ensure quality, and compete economically in the world’s markets.3 The Electricity Division’s mission seems particularly appropriate given the major role that electrical and electronics equipment and systems play in international commerce and the leadership role that American companies have developed and wish to maintain in this field. Recognizing the growing importance of supporting U.S. industry in the international marketplace, the division has increased its participation in international documentary and physical standards activities. In general, the division conducts its business in a manner that supports its stated mission, which is well aligned with the EEEL and NIST missions. The technical quality of the projects reviewed was of uniformly high caliber throughout the division, from the more established calibration efforts to the new initiatives on technology development. Recognition of current and anticipated needs of U.S. industry and commerce appears to be the driving force for decision-making. The technical efforts involved in maintaining state-of-the-art capabilities are an essential strength of this division. A superb degree of technical skill, innovative approaches, and good judgment are evident throughout the programs. One example of the excellent work under way in this division is the Electronic Kilogram project, which addresses an important and elementary need of the laboratory: the development of an alternative means to monitor mass standards. This long-term effort is well justified by the observable differences between the artifactual kilograms maintained throughout the world. The project leverages a number of established world-class capabilities within the division to facilitate the development of a new measurement method that has the potential to significantly advance the state of the art. The technical requirements of this effort are exacting and span a wide range of technologies; along the way, the staff have developed some important new approaches and demonstrated an impressive capability for creative problem solving. With this project and the Metrology Triangle initiative, which aims to link the volt, ohm, and ampere standards, the Electricity Division is positioned as an international leader in fundamental metrology of SI units. The panel believes that such leadership produces both prestige for NIST and a technical advantage that is a key element in NIST’s support of U.S. industrial competitiveness in the global electronics and electrical markets. A similar degree of technical excellence is evident in many other programs. The Voltage Metrology program, for example, continues to lead the world in sustaining current methods and developing new technologies for the maintenance of the legal volt. At present, efforts are focused on development of a portable Josephson junction array that will facilitate comparisons of the NIST volt to standards maintained by other organizations. This new approach is sorely needed as the Zener references now used as standard transfer devices only allow intercomparisons with uncertainties of about 3 parts in 108, while the portable Josephson junction arrays are expected to enable comparisons with uncertainties in the range of 1 part in 109 to 1010, a significant improvement. In addition to working on this new technology, the staff in the voltage metrology area also provide important calibration services for the Zener references and saturated cells commonly used by companies today. The historical data on the reference and working standards maintained at NIST and the high level of staff expertise in this area allow NIST to provide these services to U.S. industry at a world-class level. 3 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Electricity Division: Programs, Activities, and Accomplishments, NISTIR 6587, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., January 2001.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 Another area in which the Electricity Division is balancing the development of new technologies and the provision of traditional calibration services is resistance standards and metrology. Within the current program, the service provided to NIST calibration customers continues to be of high quality, and the division has recently expanded its range of capabilities to the 100 TW level. In the work on new methods, NIST has the only alternating currents (AC) quantum Hall resistance facility that is currently operational in the United States. Staff continue to improve the equipment in this facility; most recently, a new cryogenic probe was built based on a new design that is expected to reduce noise in the measurements and correspondingly reduce uncertainties. In addition, staff are working on building a cryogenic current comparator, a piece of equipment that is not available commercially. This equipment is needed to realize the benefits of the quantum Hall resistance approach over a useful range. On another front, staff are investigating how current resistance metrology techniques can be extended beyond direct current (DC) measurements to AC. The division staff have developed impressive expertise during the work on DC measurements. These skills allowed the careful and exacting analysis of NIST’s measurement scheme, which in turn permitted the discovery of errors and faults in approaches being adopted in standards laboratories in other countries. This work laid the foundation for the current effort to extend the measurement approach to AC. In addition to the work on the volt and the ohm described above, the Electricity Division is also responsible for realizing the SI unit for capacitance, the farad. The central facility for this work is the NIST calculable capacitor, which has existed for over 30 years. Division staff continue to improve this facility; currently uncertainties are down to roughly 2 parts in 108. The latest effort focuses on developing the technologies needed to provide calibration measurements at 1000 Hz (as well as at the present standard, 1592 Hz). This additional capability will reduce the uncertainties currently experienced when NIST customers are measuring the 10-pF fused silica capacitors, which are monitored at that frequency. Although there is little room for future improvement in the calculable capacitor, it is essential to maintain this program in support of one of the key SI units, The Single-Electron Tunneling (SET) project is another activity in which NIST staff are pushing the boundaries of current technologies in order to achieve fundamental advances in electrical metrology. One element of this effort is the investigation of whether SET technologies can be used to provide a fundamental representation of capacitance. A major technical challenge is how to scale the SET devices to provide the currents required for work with resistors. Tackling the complex materials issues associated with this challenge will likely involve considerable collaboration with groups outside NIST. In the past year, the staff have clearly identified the relevant technical issues and laid the groundwork for the needed external collaborations. One reason this project is so appropriate for NIST is the significant benefit that will accrue from the ability of staff to compare results from this activity with those from the calculable capacitor that the Electricity Division uses to maintain the farad. In the Measurement for Complex Electronic Systems project, staff are using sophisticated mathematical techniques to extend efforts into the thorny area of IDDQ testing, in which the power supply current of a semiconductor device is measured as a function of the digital state of the device. This technique may prove to be a very effective tool for determining optimum testing strategies. The Infrastructure for Integrated Electronic Design and Manufacturing projects are very appropriate NIST activities because they aim to generate standards that will be accepted by industry. The work is based on the sophisticated use of the Internet. Perhaps future additions to the intrastructure might include an efficient method for continually improving the infrastructure. Ideally, such an enhancement would include a system for conveniently reporting problems and shortcomings and for tracking resolution of the reported issues. The AC-DC Difference Standards and Measurement Techniques program includes several projects that are contributing pioneering work in this field. The panel was impressed by the high
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 quality of four specific research projects: the development of a cryogenic-based thermal transfer standard, the use of thin-film multijunction thermal converters as new high-performance reference and working standards, the expansion of the range of currents (up to 100 A and down to 10 mA) at which broadband calibrations of shunts can be performed, and the investigation of how binary inductive voltage dividers can be used to independently verify converters up to 1 kV. Program Relevance and Effectiveness The Electricity Division appears to understand and even anticipate the needs of its customers well, and both individual investigators and management interact with appropriate elements of the relevant industries. The panel continues to be impressed with the willingness of the division’s professional staff to be available for face-to-face or telephone conversations with their customers and notes that this tradition of openness creates an atmosphere of accessibility that many EEEL customers view as one of the laboratory’s most valuable characteristics. NIST personnel, in turn, use the information gathered in these interactions to help determine the direction of division programs, especially when it comes to starting new efforts directed at meeting industrial needs. Once projects were under way, however, the panel observed that less external input was sought and utilized. Customer relations might be strengthened by having more clearly defined checkpoints at which customers could be called on to validate the appropriateness of divisional programs or to help make mid-course corrections. Checkpoints clearly do exist within the more formal collaborative arrangements (such as Cooperative Research and Development Agreements [CRADAs]), and productive interactions with customers do occur informally in some other activities, but in some cases, intraprogram decision points pass without staff seizing the opportunity to seek customer input or potential redirection. While the timing or even the existence of such turning points is usually difficult to predict for an individual project, educating program managers about the usefulness of reaching out to their customers when such a point arises might help build a culture in which such interactions are a natural part of a project. One ongoing project in which open communications with an external organization have contributed positively to the effort is the work on construction of thin-film devices for the AC-DC Difference program. The division has worked cooperatively with the DOE in this area, and the frequent discussions that took place when problems arose and decisions needed to be made have benefited the project and enabled the two government agencies to use the money of U.S. taxpayers as efficiently as possible. The Electricity Division is very active in disseminating information about NIST results, activities, and services and maintaining the international visibility of NIST’s high-quality programs and technical capabilities. The number of publications remains large (72 in 2000) despite the fact that several professional staff retired last year, leaving just 51 technical professionals. Division personnel give numerous presentations, seminars, and symposia and represent NIST in a number of professional and technical organizations. One example is the National Conference of Standards Laboratories International (NCSLI). NCSLI’s Committee for National Measurement Requirements receives input on present and future metrology needs from over 1400 organizations, and interaction with this committee provides the Electricity Division with information on the status of international measurement and standards activities. Staff also gather important data on customer needs at events such as the annual Measurement Science Conference and the biennial international Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements. The requirements and priorities of individual companies are gathered through CRADAs. The Electricity Division is using all of these inputs appropriately to direct its limited resources to programs with significant impact. One illustration of the division’s responsiveness is the recent increase
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 TABLE 2.6 Sources of Funding for the Optoelectronics Division (in millions of dollars), FY 1998 to FY 2001 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1998 (actual) Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (actual) Fiscal Year 2001 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 5.6 5.6 5.5 6.0 Competence 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 ATP 0.2 0.6 0.6 0.5 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 OA/NFG/CRADA 1.2 1.1 1.6 2.4 Other Reimbursable 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.2 Total 7.4 7.7 8.5 9.5 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 36 37 37 35 NOTE: Sources of funding are as described in the note accompanying Table 2.1. aThe number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year. will provide cost-effective ways to deliver high-speed data traffic in optical networks. Another area in which NIST’s ability to impact industry is being impeded by lack of staff is the transfer of measurement technology to the optical disc industry. A first step was taken last year, but no further steps followed. These examples come on top of other cases from the past several years in which relevant work was suspended or terminated simply as a result of resource limitations. Those delayed projects include the work on planar optical waveguides and on optical amplifier measurements of noise figure and relative intensity noise. The panel observes that the resource limitations and the loss of personnel to private companies in the last year have adversely affected staff morale. Given that NIST is limited in the financial packages it can offer staff, the panel encourages management to investigate new and creative reward mechanisms for high-performing personnel. In the past, the panel expressed concern about the division’s heavy reliance on nonpermanent staff for key contributions to important projects. However, in this highly competitive market for relevant personnel, the panel acknowledges that the use of guest and contract workers and postdoctoral researchers to supplement permanent staff is a good way to continue operations, maintain a portfolio of important programs, and even recruit new talent. Another issue related to resource limitations is the quality of the equipment and facilities available to division staff. While the equipment in some areas has improved in the past few years, there are still many areas in which it is of a much poorer quality than the equipment available to industry researchers. Funding for capital equipment expenditures is still well below what is typically spent to equip industry laboratories, and NIST management needs to make a strong push to increase this funding. Further efforts also need to be made on improving the utilization of laboratory space. The panel was disappointed to learn that the very appropriate plan to consolidate Optoelectronics Division staff in one building by taking advantage of the space vacated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was delayed owing to budget constraints. As society advances into the information age, optoelectronics devices and systems, such as those deployed in lightwave communications, image processing, displays, and information storage, will play an increasingly critical role. The worldwide optical networking systems market is projected to grow
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 from $10 billion in fiscal year 2000 to roughly $50 billion in fiscal year 2004, while the optical components market is projected to grow from $5 billion in fiscal year 2000 to roughly $24 billion in fiscal year 2004 (both of these increases would amount to annual growth of ~50 percent). These projections appear conservative when compared to the fiscal year 2000 growth rate of over 130 percent. In light of this trend, the panel continued to be concerned that the measurements and standards needs of this rapidly expanding industry, an industry that is continually launching new technologies, cannot be met by an Optoelectronics Division with relatively flat budgets and a decreasing number of staff. Without adequate funding, some of the existing projects that are critical will have to be redirected or refocused to support those programs that are deemed still more critical. To illustrate the consequences of the tight budget for optoelectronics work at NIST, it is instructive to consider which areas the division is being forced to neglect despite the needs of industry. Note that the panel is not suggesting areas that are more critical than the areas where activities are ongoing but rather areas that could have significant industrial impact if the division had the people and money to expand its efforts. NIST might call upon an outside group such as OIDA or the Telecommunications Industries Association (TIA) to make such a list of programmatic areas that are of interest to their industrial members. Here, the panel offers one version of such a list: (1) optical MEMS metrology; (2) planar optics; (3) optical data storage; (4) the semiconductor lighting initiative; and (5) bio-optics. In particular, the panel stresses that optical MEMS have gained tremendous importance in industry recently, and NIST should certainly consider how the Optoelectronics Division could contribute to new metrology developments in this area. While the panel is cautiously optimistic about the budget increase scheduled for fiscal year 2001, it has two major concerns about the overall funding picture for the division. The first is that a significant percentage of the increase is due to a rise in the amount of money from external sources. This type of funding can be unstable and is not indicative of an increased commitment by NIST and Congress to this area, which the panel believes is necessary. The second concern of the panel is the status of the Office of Optoelectronics Programs. Congress provided no funding for the office for fiscal year 2001 and whether the new administration will even request funding for it in fiscal year 2002 is still in doubt. The panel continues to urge positive action on this front, as the new office would provide improved coordination of NIST work in optoelectronics and could greatly enhance NIST’s ability to participate in international standards efforts. The panel suggests that, to demonstrate the importance of NIST’s past and current efforts in optoelectronics, an outside group such as OIDA or TIA might be commissioned to identify and publicize the tremendous contribution of the Optoelectronics Division to the success of the U.S. optical fiber telecommunications industry. Magnetic Technology Division Technical Merit According to division documentation, the proposed mission of the Magnetic Technology Division is to develop and disseminate advanced measurement methods and standards for the magnetic data storage and superconductor power industries. Research is conducted in the areas of high-density and high-speed magnetic recording, magnetoresistive sensors and memory elements, magneto-optic and inductive magnetometry, scanned-probe microscopy using micro-electromechanical systems, electromechanical properties of superconductors, magnetic calibration standards, and superconductor standards and best practices. While this proposed mission statement is certainly broad enough to encompass the wide range of
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 activities under way in this division, the panel believes that the statement needs to be revised to clarify the relationship between this mission and the missions of EEEL and NIST. Specifically, the panel would like to see a more explicit connection with the NIST-wide goal of improving the quality of life in the United States and strengthening the U.S. economy and the laboratory-wide emphasis on the quality and timeliness needed to maximize the impact of taxpayers’ dollars. However, the panel is certainly gratified to see explicit commitment to advanced measurement methods and standards in the division mission and suggests that this emphasis be retained in any revised mission statement. The panel also suggests that the Magnetic Technology Division coordinate with the Electromagnetic Technology Division to ensure that the different responsibilities for work on superconducting materials, which now occurs in both groups, be clearly delineated in the two mission statements. The Magnetic Technology Division is a new division of EEEL, formed in the fall of 2000 from several projects that split off from the Electromagnetic Technology Division. The current projects are Magnetic Recording Measurements, Magnetodynamics, Nanoprobe Imaging, Magnetic Thin Films and Devices, Standards for Superconductor Characterization, and Superconductor Electromagnetic Measurements.11 The Magnetic Recording Measurements project focuses on metrology related to magnetic data storage systems. A particularly valuable result of the group’s work is the development of the nanoscale recording system (NRS). One application of the NRS, now at the prototype stage, is to use the imaging capabilities of the NRS in forensic analysis to recover data from audio- and videotapes and digital recording media. For practical implementation of this application, a high-speed version of the NRS will be needed. The NRS is also able to sense magnetic fields due to currents, which allows it to serve as a nondestructive method for failure analysis of VLSI chips; this application is of particular value for the semiconductor industry. NIST staff are providing instrumentation and consulting for customers interested in both applications, which are in the early stages. The NRS testing system has already demonstrated its value for the study of high-density data recording and storage, and several companies, including Seagate Technology, IBM, and Nonvolatile Electronics, Inc., have reproduced the system for use at industrial research locations. The staff of the Magnetodynamics project continue to perform world-class work aimed at understanding the fundamentals of high-speed switching in magnetic materials and to break new ground in the study of metrology related to magnetic switching. In the past year, several efforts productively extended previous efforts of the group. Examples include the measurement of the switching speed of high-moment Fe-Co-N films in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University, the use of second-harmonic and conventional forms of the magneto-optic Kerr effect (SHMOKE and MOKE) to compare switching at the surface of permalloy with that in the bulk, the improvements in the signal-to-noise ratio in the MOKE/SHMOKE system, and the development of noninvasive inductive current probes for the measurement of fast rise-time current pulses in structures such as magnetic recording heads and suspensions. New efforts include work on spintronics, including a new concept for a spintronic magnetic recording head, a study of the magnon-phonon interaction, and a collaborative project on spin momentum transfer with Cornell University and Motorola Corporation. The Nanoprobe Imaging project has made significant strides in the past year on defining a strategy for its work and on sharpening its vision of the role it should be playing in support of industry. The 11 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Magnetic Technology Division: Programs, Activities, and Accomplishments, NISTIR 6606, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., January 2001.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 activities under way in this area are consistent with the Magnetic Technology Division’s mission to deliver new and useful measurement technologies to industry; work is particularly relevant to the data storage industry and may one day prove useful for investigations into quantum computing and various biological phenomena. Past efforts on superparmagnetic tips and electron-spin resonance probes are now being augmented by work on using ferromagnetic resonance to measure local DC and radio-frequency magnetic fields on a nanometer scale. In general, the effort to enable measurement of many fundamental magnetic parameters on a nanometer scale using a “magnetometer-on-a-chip” offers innovative solutions to key measurement problems faced by industry. With the chip approach, many of these measurements can be performed in situ, and users will then be able to capture what is happening during the process being studied and react quickly to any unexpected changes. This NIST effort relies heavily on the full in-house MEMS capabilities that the division gained when the clean room expansion was completed last year and is an excellent response to the panel’s suggestion that the division explore ways to improve capabilities for measuring the magnetic properties of thin films. The Magnetic Thin Films and Devices project focuses on measurements and standards for magnetic thin film materials and devices. This past year, staff completed a study of switching probabilities in small spin-valve devices designed for magnetic random-access memory (MRAM) applications. This work is especially valuable to industry because addressing problems related to the switching dynamics and the presence of metastable states in these devices is a key step toward determining the commercial viability of MRAM devices. (In magnetic recording devices, this issue is less pressing, as switching speeds are currently limited by the properties of the write head.) The various efforts related to damping in magnetic materials are making excellent progress. Results from the micromagnetic simulations of rotations in spin-valve devices showed qualitative agreement with experimental measurements of damping, and staff developed a new method for engineering magnetic thin films so as to increase the damping of the films. Other noteworthy activities include the development of techniques for in situ magneto-conductance measurements, continuing investigations of materials that are candidates for use as magnetic imaging reference samples, work on metrology for characterizing current-perpendicular-to-plane devices, and fabrication of combinatorial libraries for the magnetic properties of alloys (phase-diagram-on-a-chip). The Magnetic Technology Division’s work on superconducting materials consists of two principal efforts. In the Standards for Superconductor Characterization project, staff develop nonroutine techniques for measurement of critical currents of superconducting wires and participate in related standards committees. In the Superconductor Electromagnetic Measurements project, the focus is on testing the behavior of superconducting tapes and wires under special stress conditions. The Standards for Superconductor Characterization project has ventured into new territory this past year by performing tests on conductors with unusual characteristics designed for use in high-energy physics experiments. First, staff measured critical currents for high-amperage Nb-Ti conductors made by U.S. vendors for use in the large detector magnets at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). They also worked on marginally stable, high-amperage Nb3Sn conductors. In both cases, the testing needed on these conductors went beyond the straightforward extrapolation of industrially available short sample test capabilities. NIST personnel performed detailed, patient analyses and debugging of various parasitic voltage signals in the course of these tests and gained very valuable experience. The Superconductor Electromagnetic Measurements project focuses on measuring critical currents of prototype high-temperature superconductor tapes under stress, and the techniques and facilities employed in this work are not available elsewhere in the United States. The goal is to assess performance of these materials under conditions that mimic what will occur when the tapes are used in magnets or experience winding or other occupational stresses. This information is intrinsically valuable
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 for the manufacturers and users of these tapes, but the NIST results are also contributing to a more basic understanding of the materials by demonstrating that there are unexpected effects due to the magnetic nature of the Ni substrates that are used and that using unalloyed as opposed to alloyed nonmagnetic substrates can also affect tape properties. Program Relevance and Effectiveness The programs under way in the Magnetic Technology Division are relevant to the needs of industry and of various government agencies. Division staff do a good job of interacting with their customers to determine industrial and governmental needs and, as described below, the division utilizes a variety of dissemination mechanisms to ensure that NIST results are communicated to the relevant communities. The division also solicits feedback on current activities through the interactions with NIST customers that occur when staff participate in programs organized by external groups such as the International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA), the NSIC, the Versailles project on Advanced Materials and Standards, and the IEC. NIST’s work in measurements and standards related to superconducting materials continues to have a considerable impact on the U.S. superconductor industry and on customers in the Department of Energy’s fusion and high-energy physics programs. The value to DOE customers is demonstrated by the significant external funding DOE provided for the division’s work on testing the properties of superconductors under mechanical strain. For industry, NIST staff are very active in various working groups of IEC Technical Committee 90 (Superconductivity) and have made productive contributions that influence the technical standards issued by this committee. Last year, the Magnetic Technology Division decided to get more deeply involved with the International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE). Outreach to this organization is particularly important because it will bring NIST staff into contact with a new community of potential customers in electric utility-related applications quite distinct from the DOE-related communities that traditionally use NIST’s services and benefit from its research on superconducting materials. In past assessment reports, the panel highlighted the need for standards for the data storage industry, as well as for MRAM devices and sensor technologies. This year, the panel is gratified to note significant progress in the division’s efforts to develop and disseminate standards in this area and in NIST’s responsiveness to requests from industry and its ability to meet industry’s needs. For example, the division is testing two prototype standards, one of a planar solenoid designed to be used as a current-based flux standard and one of a zero coercivity standard to be used to calibrate magnetometers. Staff are also working with SHB Instruments, a leading maker of magnetometers for soft materials, on candidate materials for the zero coercivity standard. Finally, NIST continues to work closely with IDEMA on interlaboratory comparisons of magnetic samples to test newly written measurement standards; these round-robins include testing at industry laboratories. Overall, the panel applauds the strides that have been made but notes that flux standards for magnetic recording media are still needed. In the magnetodynamics area, Magnetic Technology Division staff participate in the NSIC Extremely High Density Recording (EHDR) project, which has brought together the key players in magnetic data storage from both industry and academia so that their joint work on precompetitive technologies may advance the state of the art in magnetic recording. This project is an effective way to transfer the results of NIST research on the dynamics of high-speed switching to interested external parties, and the NIST work in this area may eventually impact companies involved in MRAM devices and communications, as well as the data storage industry. The Magnetic Technology Division disseminates information about NIST programs and transfers
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 technology to industry in a variety of ways. Staff have published numerous high-quality technical articles in refereed journals and given lectures (11 in 2000) and courses all over the world. Some examples include a NATO Advanced Course lecture in superconductivity, a tutorial on critical current testing at the last Applied Superconductivity Conference (ASC), and an IEEE Guest Lecture on magnetodynamics. One NIST employee is writing a monograph for Oxford University Press on superconductor electromagnetic measurements; the monograph reflects an entire career’s worth of experience in low-temperature experimentation and will be a valuable resource in that field. Another is editor in chief of IEEE Transactions on Magnetics. NIST personnel regularly chair conference sessions, serve on conference committees, and act as conference chairs for a variety of meetings, including the Intermag Conference, the Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, and the ASC. Division staff are also very active in a number of standards and scientific organizations, such as ASTM, IEEE, and IEC. In March of 2001, NIST hosted a workshop on NSIC’s continuing roadmapping effort in the area of magnetic tape recording. Informal dissemination of NIST results occurs through the division’s multiple collaborations with external institutions, including universities (e.g., Cornell and the University of Wisconsin), government organizations (e.g., Fermilab and Los Alamos National Laboratory), and companies (e.g., Motorola and NVE, Inc.). A very effective mechanism for transferring expertise on measurement technologies is the NIST postdoctoral program, which trained many first-rate industrial and academic researchers and which continues to provide important experience for new scientists entering the magnetics and superconducting fields. For example, Seagate Technology hired a person who had been a postdoctoral associate on the Magnetodynamics project and immediately gained the expertise it needed on measurements of high-speed switching. Division Resources Funding sources for the Magnetic Technology Division are shown in Table 2.7. As of January 2001, staffing for the Magnetic Technology Division included 11 full-time permanent positions, of which 10 were for technical professionals. There were also 4 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and temporary or part-time workers. The staff and projects in the Magnetic Technology Division have clearly benefited from the reorganization in which the division became an independent unit. Staff morale has improved greatly since the reorganization, and the new structure will sharpen the focus on magnetic and superconducting technologies. Other factors that have contributed to the general improvements noted by the panel in the past year include the completion of the new clean room and good progress across the division on several milestones. The panel is very impressed by the positive morale and the enthusiasm of the staff; the upbeat environment bodes well for the future of this division. The panel does believe that there are three significant challenges facing management as the new division goes forward. The first is the budget. During the transition to an independent unit, resources and support mechanisms will be in flux, and it is important for EEEL to resolve any uncertainties about distribution of internal (STRS) funding in a timely manner and support divisional efforts to secure external grants. A second, but related, challenge is the hiring and retention of full-time permanent staff. Recently, one person was transferred to another division within EEEL because the Magnetic Technology Division did not have the funding to maintain the position. The postdoctoral research associate program continues to attract excellent scientists to NIST, but the division appears to lack the opportunity to hire scientists as permanent staff at the end of their postdoctoral appointments. Finally, the division will face significant difficulties in its search for a permanent division chief. Currently, it is headed on an
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 TABLE 2.7 Sources of Funding for the Magnetic Technology Division (in millions of dollars), FY 1998 to FY 2001 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1998a (actual) Fiscal Year 1999a (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (actual) Fiscal Year 2001 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence NA NA 1.6 1.5 Competence NA NA 0.5 0.0 ATP NA NA 0.1 0.1 OA/NFG/CRADA NA NA 0.7 0.5 Other Reimbursable NA NA 0.1 0.0 Total NA NA 2.9 2.1 Full-time permanent staff (total)b NA NA NA 11 NOTE: Sources of funding are as described in the note accompanying Table 2.1. aData are not available for years prior to FY 2000 as the Magnetic Technology Division was formed in September 2000 in a reorganization in which several projects were moved from the Electromagnetic Technology Division to this new division. bThe number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year. interim basis by a division chief from the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory, with significant support from a Magnetic Technology Division staff member. The panel applauds the work of these two men, who saw the division through its formation. However, a stated goal of division and laboratory management is to hire a permanent division chief from outside NIST. The panel appreciates this objective but warns that attracting the caliber of person needed to run the program will be very difficult at a time when demand for quality people with the relevant expertise is quite high. Two similar positions are currently open in academia (directors of the Micromagnetics and Information Technologies [MINT] centers at the University of Minnesota and the University of Alabama), one of which has been unsuccessfully advertised for a number of months now. The panel obviously applauds the completion of the new clean room, which has enabled the staff to undertake new and exciting projects. However, the rest of the division’s facilities are antiquated, and most laboratories suffer from inadequate temperature and humidity control. The laboratories are also spread out among several different buildings, but at this time the staff appear to be in enough proximity to allow for reasonably effective collaboration. In general, most of the equipment in these laboratories has been homemade by NIST staff. In some cases, this approach was necessary because no commercial versions of the needed instruments were available, but in other cases (the thin film area is one), high-quality, appropriate equipment clearly could have been purchased (e.g., for vacuum deposition). Making sure that the division has adequate resources to purchase capital equipment would allow staff to devote their time and efforts to more important tasks. The new clean room is equipped mainly with store-bought instruments, which is appropriate, but even in this facility some of the instruments, such as the scanning electron microscope that was modified for lithography, are second class. The personnel in this division are outstanding, NIST’s greatest asset in magnetic superconductivity area, and they should have access to the world-class equipment and facilities that would enable them to productively and efficiently fulfill the division and NIST missions.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 Office of Microelectronics Programs This year, the Office of Microelectronics Programs is being reviewed by a special panel and covered in a separate chapter, Chapter 9, of this report. Office of Law Enforcement Standards According to laboratory documentation, the mission of the Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) is to serve as the principal agent for standards development for the criminal justice and public safety communities. The panel was very pleased to observe that OLES has been established as a stable and viable organization. Its programs include some activities that are carried out in-house, some that are outsourced, and a wide array of projects across NIST that are matrix managed by the OLES staff. The current work is divided into five programmatic areas: Weapons and Protective Systems, Detection, Inspection and Enforcement Technologies, Chemical Systems and Materials, Forensic Sciences, and Public Safety Communications Standards.12 These areas are appropriate for OLES to be involved in, and the current projects not only are consistent with the OLES mission but also directly support the recently revised NIST mission to “strengthen the U.S. economy and improve the quality of life by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.” OLES works very hard to maintain relationships with its customers, who are spread throughout a variety of communities such as law enforcement, corrections, forensic science, and the fire service. NIST staff attend many conferences, training programs, and informal sessions to learn about customer needs and build awareness of OLES activities and products (such as its technical reports and user guides). The staff have a variety of items with the OLES name and contact information that they can pass out at these events to educate the communities about using OLES as a resource for technical support and advice. In their relationships with their customers, OLES staff, like many other staff within EEEL, are working to communicate and uphold NIST’s reputation as an honest broker and a source of reliable, technically sound information. OLES is entirely supported by outside agency funding. The primary source of funding is the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), and a small amount of additional money is provided by other agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As of January 2001, the office had a paid staff of 9, 7 of whom were technical professionals. Funding sources for the Office of Law Enforcement Standards are shown in Table 2.8. The continued strength of OLES’s relationship with its sponsors, who are also its customers, is demonstrated by the increasing funding provided over the past 5 years. There is no indication that this trend will abate, as the panel sees clear opportunities for expansion, especially in the area of biochemical standards for forensic sciences. OLES has laid the groundwork with ongoing programs in this area, including research on DNA identification methods and standards and evaluation of the potential for using saliva as a drug-testing mechanism, but this is clearly a fast-growing field with rapidly changing technologies. OLES is poised to expand its work in this area to provide the technical perspective and information that the criminal justice community will need. 12 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Office of Law Enforcement Standards: Programs, Activities, and Accomplishments, NISTIR 6575, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., January 2001.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 TABLE 2.8 Sources of Funding for the Office of Law Enforcement Standards (in millions of dollars), FY 1998 to FY 2001 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1998 (actual) Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (actual) Fiscal Year 2001 (estimated) National Institute of Justice 4.9 5.4 8.4 9.5 Other agencies 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.4 Total 5.1 5.6 8.8 9.9 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 7 9 9 9 aThe number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year. OLES results and products have had and continue to have a significant impact on the criminal justice and public safety communities. The value of this impact to its primary sponsor, NIJ, is demonstrated by the fact that NIJ has included OLES in its strategic planning sessions and has placed OLES in its plan and budget for several years to come. This endorsement of and commitment to OLES has allowed the staff at NIST to shift their focus from receiving money and then planning programs that use it appropriately toward assessing customer needs, planning relevant programs, and then soliciting money to support the necessary activities. The panel applauds this approach. OLES relies heavily on contracts both to receive money from its sponsors and to administer some programs external to NIST. A concern of the panel is that OLES appears to have been hampered in its ability to carry out its mission efficiently by delays in contract execution and personnel actions by the central NIST offices for these functions. Since all of OLES funding comes from outside, there is no alternative source of support to tide projects over, and delays can seriously interfere with project execution. In contrast, OLES has effective working relationships with other central NIST offices. For example, OLES staff are working with the Facilities Planning, Engineering, and Construction section of the NIST Plant Division on plans to relocate and improve the OLES Research Test Facility. This facility supports ballistics-related research (on topics such as gunlock effectiveness) and other projects and is central to OLES’s mission. The panel was pleased to note NIST support and assistance for a new facility and considers that the concerns expressed in last year’s report are being resolved. MAJOR OBSERVATIONS The panel presents the following major observations: The Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory continues to provide world-class leadership in metrology research and services. The staff are strongly focused on building high-quality programs that meet important industrial needs, and the laboratory is working to strengthen its processes for feedback from its customers to ensure that NIST activities continue to utilize customer input throughout their lifetimes and are effectively disseminated to and implemented by industry.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 The flat budgets of EEEL stand in stark contrast to the rapid technological progress occurring in the industries served by EEEL and the impact of these industries on the economic health of the nation. The consequence is a declining number of professional staff members and a growing number of mission-critical projects that are beyond EEEL’s resources to undertake. The capital equipment budget of EEEL is woefully inadequate. If it does not see a significant increase in these funds, EEEL may need to work with industry through shared leasing arrangements and other innovative programs to provide staff with access to the equipment and instrumentation they need to carry out the laboratory’s mission. Some improvements were seen at the Boulder facilities this past year, and the planned Advanced Measurement Laboratory at Gaithersburg will do much to satisfy facilities needs 4 years from now. However, there are still many issues at both sites, and ongoing investment in facilities maintenance and upgrades and new construction is necessary to give NIST staff the technical environment they need to perform measurement and standards research and services at the top levels. The EEEL strategic planning processes are appropriately focused on developing a plan that contains a laboratory-level set of goals and objectives. This plan, along with the laboratory mission and values statements, is helping EEEL management set priorities and select programs within the current constraints on budget and human resources.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001 This page in the original is blank.
Representative terms from entire chapter: