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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 5 Physics Laboratory
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 PANEL MEMBERS Janet S. Fender, Air Force Research Laboratory, Chair Duncan T. Moore, University of Rochester, Vice Chair Patricia A. Baisden, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Anthony J. Berejka, Consultant, Huntington, New York John H. Bruning, Corning Tropel Corporation John F. Dicello, Johns Hopkins University Jay M. Eastman, Lucid, Inc. Stephen D. Fantone, Optikos Corporation Thomas F. Gallagher, University of Virginia R. Michael Garvey, Datum Timing, Test and Measurement, Inc. Lene Vestergaard Hau, Harvard University Tony F. Heinz, Columbia University Jan F. Herbst, General Motors Research and Development Center Franz J. Himpsel, University of Wisconsin David S. Leckrone, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Dennis M. Mills, Argonne National Laboratory James M. Palmer, University of Arizona William N. Partlo, Cymer, Inc. Thad G. Walker, University of Wisconsin-Madison Frank W. Wise, Cornell University Submitted for the panel by its Chair, Janet S. Fender, and its Vice Chair, Duncan T. Moore, this assessment of the fiscal year 2002 activities of the Physics Laboratory is based on site visits by individual panel members, a formal meeting of the panel on February 20-21, 2002, in Boulder, Colorado, and documents provided by the laboratory.1 1 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Physics Laboratory: Technical Activities 2001, NISTIR 6838, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., January 2002, and U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Physics Laboratory: Annual Report 2001, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., January 2002.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 LABORATORY-LEVEL REVIEW Technical Merit The Physics Laboratory states its mission as supporting U.S. industry by providing measurement services and research for electronic, optical, and radiation technologies. It is organized in six divisions (see Figure 5.1): Electron and Optical Physics Division, Atomic Physics Division, Optical Technology Division, Ionizing Radiation Division, Time and Frequency Division, and Quantum Physics Division (JILA). The first five divisions are reviewed below under Divisional Reviews; the Quantum Physics Division is reviewed as part of the subpanel report on JILA found at the end of this chapter. The NIST Physics Laboratory has long been known among its technical peers for the outstanding level of scientific research that it produces. The laboratory has a tradition of world leadership in many of its areas of activity. Overall, its researchers are well known for the originality of their work, their FIGURE 5.1 Organizational structure of the Physics Laboratory. Listed under each division except Quantum Physics (JILA) are the division’s groups.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 ability to carry out difficult measurements to record levels of precision, and their deep understanding of the basic physical phenomena that underlie such measurements. In its current assessment, the panel found that this technical tradition continues throughout the laboratory. The panel continues to be impressed with the quality and the quantity of top-notch scientific results that the laboratory produces. The awarding of the Nobel Prize for Physics to a laboratory researcher (Eric Cornell) for the second time in 5 years is the most obvious indicator of the quality of this work. Throughout the laboratory, researchers have an impressive record of publication in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, of presentations at leading technical conferences, and of invited talks at leading conferences—three common measures of technical merit that are also indicative of the respect that NIST scientists and their work are accorded by their technical peers. An outstanding technical accomplishment realized by the laboratory in the past year is the demonstration of a frequency standard that utilizes optical radiation rather than microwave radiation. Since optical frequency transitions have much higher precision than that of the microwave frequency transitions that are the basis of current standards and since these optical transitions can now be measured with the required accuracy, a primary frequency standard based on optical transitions with 1,000 times better precision than that of current standards should ultimately be enabled. This development can subsequently translate into similar improvements in measurements of time. Better measurements of time raise the possibility of increasing transmission rates in telecommunications applications, improving the security of military communications, and enhancing the capabilities of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and its applications. Other examples of noteworthy technical achievements in the laboratory are presented in the divisional reviews below. Program Relevance and Effectiveness The panel has noticed an improving focus on the relevance of programs to customer needs in the Physics Laboratory. Areas that have traditionally had strong customer ties—such as standards and calibrations for optical applications and for applications of ionizing radiation—remain strong. A sharp focus on goals and customer needs has been apparent in the new effort to develop chip-scale atomic clocks. The health care initiative, which has been under development for several years, is evolving into a well-organized, cross-laboratory effort. Eight areas of focus in health care have been identified, based on need for standards and measurements and on existing NIST technical strengths. Significant outreach to potential customers in the medical physics community is ongoing. The laboratory is to be particularly commended for its responsiveness to national need during the anthrax attacks of late 2001. Existing NIST expertise in the measurement of electron-beam dose was quickly mobilized to test the effectiveness of electron-beam decontamination of mail, which allowed the resumption of mail delivery to federal sites. NIST coordinated the interagency task force set up by the White House to address this situation. The dedication and expertise of NIST staff and the existing NIST infrastructure in this area enabled a rapid response to this unanticipated situation and resulted in a reliable decontamination procedure to meet the immediate need to get mail moving again. This technical team continues to work on refining the decontamination procedure to reduce damage to vulnerable mailed objects, such as magnetic recording media. The Physics Laboratory could capitalize on its spectacular success in this effort, and also help accomplish NIST aims in homeland security, by developing an aggressive proposal in this area with appropriate federal and private partnerships.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 In last year’s assessment,2 the panel noted that clearly articulated strategic goals for the Physics Laboratory would improve program alignment with customer needs and facilitate more effective communication of program relevance both within NIST and to external stakeholders. The panel notes that, in response, the laboratory has developed a revised strategic plan, which is an important first step in strategic program management. The current plan, however, does not appear very useful. It appears to have been written by an outside consultant, with minimal involvement by division managers. The panel found little evidence of the plan’s use for allocating resources relative to priorities and little indication that the divisions understand the laboratorywide goals and priorities enunciated in the plan. In some cases, divisions are receiving mixed signals about the importance of and the level of support for specific programs. The basis for the program prioritization presented in the plan itself remains unclear. The process of creating a strategic plan is probably more important than the final document itself—engaging division management and broad staff representation is necessary if the end result is to be clearly understood goals and priorities and better program focus, relevance, and effectiveness. The panel noted that each division is already carrying out strategic program management to at least some degree; these divisional efforts are the basis on which a useful laboratorywide strategy can be built. The NIST Physics Laboratory generates significant new knowledge and technology, some of which may have commercial value. It is consistent with the mission of NIST to protect the technology it develops so that it can be used in a manner that best serves the national interests of the United States and its citizens, both individual and corporate. However, there is concern among panel members that NIST staff have only a rudimentary understanding of intellectual property (IP) issues and of methods for transferring NIST IP to U.S. industry. Furthermore, the Physics Laboratory leadership does not encourage the consideration of U.S. IP protection as a deliberate process. Without such deliberate consideration, IP that would contribute more to U.S. competitiveness if protected can fall into the public domain. The panel recommends that NIST management examine its IP policy and focus on clearly communicating that policy to technical staff at all levels so that IP protection is sought when it is appropriate to do so. Laboratory Resources Funding sources for the Physics Laboratory are shown in Table 5.1. As of January 2002, staffing for the Physics Laboratory included 196 full-time permanent positions, of which 161 were for technical professionals. There were also 55 nonpermanent or supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and temporary or part-time workers. It is difficult to assess the appropriateness of the current resource allocation within the laboratory because the panel has no indication of how the current allocation of resources was made relative to priorities, potential payoffs, and time horizons. An overall strategy for budget allocation was not presented to the panel, and it is not clear how relative funding decisions are made within the laboratory against overall strategic goals. An overall strategy for resources that accounts for core competencies that must be maintained and that is coordinated with priorities at the NIST level could help ensure continuity of funding for long-term projects and priorities. The laboratory should evaluate options for the provision of measurement services such as calibrations, Standard Reference Materials, and databases. If mature technologies can be transitioned out of the laboratory (whether through commercialization, the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program [NVLAP], fee for service, industrial or university partnerships, or other mechanisms), it would 2 National Research Council, An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2001, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2001.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 TABLE 5.1 Sources of Funding for the Physics Laboratory (in millions of dollars), FY 1999 to FY 2002 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (actual) Fiscal Year 2001 (actual) Fiscal Year 2002 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 33.0 33.0 34.0 35.9 Competence 1.6 1.8 3.1 2.3 ATP 1.9 1.9 2.2 2.2 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 OA/NFG/CRADA 10.1 10.6 11.8 13.5 Other Reimbursable 3.6 4.2 4.4 4.5 Total 50.4 51.6 55.6 58.5 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 204 200 205 196 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. free NIST scientists involved in those services to spend more time on creative tasks and development of new technologies. The laboratory’s successful establishment of secondary laboratories for medical standards and radiation measurements through the Accredited Dosimetry Calibration Laboratories (ADCLs) is a good example of achieving more optimal use of NIST resources through technology transfer. Resource limitations call out for maximum leveraging of available resources, not only in cross-divisional work but also in cross-laboratory work within NIST. The panel was pleased to see that the health care initiative being championed by the laboratory is coordinating resources in this area across several NIST laboratories in a meaningful way. As the initiative continues, the panel hopes to see these interlaboratory relationships further nurtured and matured. The Physics Laboratory should continually be alert to other areas in which interlaboratory cooperation can stretch its own resources and provide for results of greatest customer impact. The panel encourages the Physics Laboratory to take a leadership role in developing consortia and partnerships to address national issues. In addition to fulfilling the mission of NIST, such efforts will raise the public’s and the government’s awareness of the value of NIST. Such activities could leverage industry and public dollars and boost the NIST budget as decision makers perceive the organization to be of high value to the nation. Several division managers were concerned that rising NIST overhead rates are consuming greater
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 percentages of their budgets. Data indicates that the overhead rate has risen from 44 percent in 1997 to 54 percent in 2002. Without a detailed review of what the overhead rate supports and what base it is charged against, the panel cannot determine if this rate is inappropriate. However, the panel is concerned about the impact it has on the resources available for technical programs. The overhead rate might merit review by the NIST director. Laboratory Responsiveness The primary recommendation made by the panel in its previous report was to improve the focus of programs through clearly articulated, overall strategic goals for the Physics Laboratory. As noted above, the laboratory took the first step toward responding to this recommendation. Much work remains to be done in order to produce the coherent, well-understood strategy for the laboratory that is necessary to achieve the program focus and coordination that the panel envisions. As this is clearly not a 1-year process and must emanate from the divisions, the panel looks forward to continued progress on this topic. Last year, when presented with a Physics Laboratory initiative in biophysics, the panel remarked that the initiative, as presented, lacked focus and did not have an obvious role for Physics Laboratory competencies. Since that time, the initiative has been refocused into the area of health care, and has been developed into a NIST-wide Strategic Focus Area (SFA). While much of the planning and prioritizing that went into this new health care SFA occurred at a level higher than the Physics Laboratory, the laboratory is to be commended for the active role it played in its development and for the leadership that it is showing in the organization and management of the interlaboratory effort. In last year’s assessment, the panel also recommended clearer program goals for the laboratory in the area of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has now been raised to the level of a NIST-wide initiative, and the Physics Laboratory program has benefited from the increased focus and strategy that planning on the NIST level is bringing to work in this area. Furthermore, the Physics Laboratory has engaged in numerous nationally sponsored nanotechnology activities to firmly establish the leadership role of NIST in this important emerging area. At this time, a clear definition of specific Physics Laboratory goals in nanotechnology would help assure the best application of resources in this area. The panel was particularly impressed with the responsiveness of the Atomic Physics Division to last year’s report and recommendations. In response to panel concerns about the relevance of work in Gaseous Electronics Conference (GEC) reference cells, the division examined its program in that area, determined an appropriate focus for research, and redirected its efforts accordingly. The panel was impressed with how quickly and effectively the division was able to make changes in order to allocate its resources in this area more effectively. MAJOR OBSERVATIONS The panel presents the following major observations: The Physics Laboratory continues its tradition of technical excellence and leadership. The awarding of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics to one of the laboratory’s staff members is the most obvious evidence of this excellence. The Physics Laboratory reaction to the anthrax attacks of late 2001 was outstanding for its responsiveness to unanticipated national need and for its excellent utilization of established NIST skills and resources. Staff involved in this effort are deserving of the highest praise and gratitude.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 The panel commends the leadership role that the Physics Laboratory is taking in the NIST-wide health care initiative and the strong focus that the laboratory has brought to its efforts in this area in the past year. The Physics Laboratory must continue to develop a strategic planning and prioritization process that results in clear laboratory goals and priorities which can be used by the laboratory and its divisions to allocate resources, determine program prioritization, and produce enhanced program focus and effectiveness. The panel recommends enhanced efforts to develop interlaboratory collaborations and other partnerships that would help leverage Physics Laboratory resources while more effectively meeting NIST-wide strategic goals. DIVISIONAL REVIEWS Electron and Optical Physics Division Technical Merit The Electron and Optical Physics Division’s mission is to support the NIST mission by developing the measurement capabilities needed by emerging electronic and optical technologies, particularly those required for submicrometer fabrication and analysis. The division is composed of three groups: Photon Physics, Electron Physics, and Far UV Physics. Photon Physics. The principal focus of the Photon Physics Group is the creation and characterization of metrology tools and methods in the spectral region of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation. This spectral region is of considerable importance and relevance owing to the development of EUV lithography, which is the strongest candidate to follow deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography, currently used in volume production of integrated circuits (IC). The availability of production-ready EUV lithographic tools at the end of this decade will be critical for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the field of advanced IC fabrication. The group’s Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility (SURF III) is an EUV radiation source that can be selected for the wavelength regions relevant to lithography, principally centered at 13.5 nm and 157 nm. Extensive work has been done over the past year on the RF drive electronics used to maintain electron energy inside the SURF’s storage ring. SURF III has several radiation ports dedicated for use in the characterization of EUV detectors and mirrors. The reliable EUV output provided by SURF III and the dedication of several radiation ports for EUV work provides a significant measurement capability. Last year the Photon Physics Group completed the large-sample EUV reflectometry facility. This is one of the few facilities in the world able to characterize the large (up to 40-cm diameter) EUV mirrors needed by industry for full-field lithographic exposure tools. The Photon Physics Group is one of five participants worldwide in a round-robin measurement testing exercise in the characterization of EUV mirrors. Five different mirrors, each produced by a separate laboratory, have been measured by each facility; comparison results were presented in March 2002 at the Society for Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) microlithography conference. At the present time, a very limited commercial EUV detector infrastructure exists, and no commercial calibration services are available for EUV detectors. The Photon Physics Group’s ability to characterize and calibrate EUV detectors is an important factor in the growth of this technology. In addition, this group is uniquely positioned to investigate a fundamental assumption made by nearly all users of
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 calibrated EUV photodiodes. These EUV photodiodes are calibrated with quasi-continuous wave (CW) synchrotron radiation sources but are then used to measure the output from pulsed EUV light sources. The calibration is assumed to be consistent between CW and pulsed operation of these photodiodes. The Photon Physics Group has constructed a pulsed EUV radiation source based on the gas jet laser-produced plasma concept, and it plans to compare calibration with this pulsed source to that made with the quasi-CW output from SURF III. Many research organizations around the world are developing EUV light sources, each following quite a different technological path. Consistent measurement of source parameters such as average in-band emission, in-band emission stability, out-of-band emission, source size, source position stability, and debris generation is critical when making comparisons among EUV source suppliers. The expertise of the Photon Physics Group and the reputation of NIST make it ideally suited for creating this suite of tests. It is recommended that the Photon Physics Group approach EUV source vendors and EUV exposure tool suppliers and ascertain the level of interest in providing this function to the EUV technical community. Because of the clean, debris-free output and extended continuous operation capability of SURF III, the Photon Physics Group is well positioned to contribute to important studies of EUV mirror lifetime and degradation mechanisms. To date, industry emphasis has been placed on developing strategies directed toward mitigation of mirror damage caused by contaminants such as carbon and oxygen. Little is known about possible degradation of the dielectric coatings under long-term exposure to EUV radiation. The clean, high-vacuum environment afforded by a synchrotron radiation source such as SURF III is essential for achieving long-term EUV exposures free from contaminants. The division should consider pursuing funding for such work. Electron Physics. The Electron Physics Group pioneers the development of world-class measurement techniques and uses them to confront challenging problems at the nanoscience frontier. Last year the panel reported on the completion of the Nanoscale Physics Laboratory (NPL), a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) coupled to two molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) systems and a field ion microscope unit for tip preparation. A fixed-direction magnetic field as large as 10 T or a variable-orientation field up to 1.5 T can be applied to a sample. The system can operate at temperatures as low as 2 K. This facility positions the group to remain a leader in the preparation and characterization of nanostructured materials well into the future. Recent improvements in the system’s electronics have made it possible to resolve meV features. A fascinating study currently under way on this system employs the spin-dependent STM capability to enable spectroscopic investigation of energy gap states in superconducting V3Si films grown in situ. NIST has observed magnetic tunneling effects on the subnanometer scale that do not fit conventional models. This discovery of new physics is a good indication that the experiments probe uncharted territory. Testing of atom manipulation has also begun, as part of the larger goal of developing an autonomous atom assembler that will afford atom-by-atom fabrication of quantum structures. Single-atom manipulation is also the objective of the “atom on demand” work, which relies on capturing an individual atom in a magneto-optical trap and moving it with lasers. Potential applications include building an atomic array for quantum information processing and modulated doping of a substrate. The essential step of counting the number of atoms in the trap was accomplished in 2001 by detecting their fluorescence. This project dovetails very well with the quantum computing effort at Boulder and gives NIST an edge in this very competitive field. The Scanning Electron Microscopy with Polarization Analysis (SEMPA) project was enhanced with the installation of an ultrahigh vacuum, field emission scanning electron microscope during 2000-2001. This instrument is now functioning at a magnetic image resolution of 25 nm, with an ultimate goal of achieving 10-nm resolution. A critical need exists for mapping the magnetic domain structure
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 on that scale because it is characteristic of magnetic storage media for hard disks. Owing to vendor delays in meeting specifications, the instrument has not quite reached 10-nm resolution, but it is already better than the available magnetic microscopes, such as other SEMPA instruments, the MFM (magnetic force microscope), and the PEEM (photoemission electron microscope) with magnetic circular dichroism. Measurements can be made in the 100 to 1000 K temperature range, and structures such as multilayer wedges can be grown by MBE and characterized with techniques including reflection high-energy electron diffraction. Two recent SEMPA efforts are very exciting. First, magnetization directions of magnetic nanostructures in patterned thin films were imaged directly. The structures are Fe and Co disks and rings several nanometers thick and 1 to 10 mm in diameter that have potential application in nonvolatile magnetic memories. Second, electron-beam-induced magnetic switching has been observed in epitaxial Fe (110) films grown on a GaAs (110) surface. A high-risk effort is under way to achieve atomic-scale magnetic contrast in a separate, room-temperature STM. One set of experiments is designed to monitor the circular polarization of light generated by tunneling from a ferromagnetic sample into a p-doped GaAs tip. If this technique is viable, several impediments to obtaining magnetic contrast using magnetic tips will be eliminated, including undesirable tip-sample interactions, unknown orientation of the tip magnetization, and lack of distinction between magnetization and topographic images. Novel work on magnetic tips is being pursued in parallel. This group’s pioneering work on spin-polarized electron emission from GaAs photocathodes (the reverse of the process investigated by STM) is the most frequently cited paper in Review of Scientific Instruments over the last 30 years. A talented and creative theoretical component complements the experimental effort. Interacting with researchers within as well as outside NIST, the theorists generate ideas for experiments and provide an additional resource for problem solving. One theorist works in a highly collaborative manner; for example, NIST experimentalists, a NIST theorist, and scientists from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), IBM, and Oxford and Cambridge Universities collaborated on spin polarization in STM. Among recent theoretical activities are an investigation of noncollinear spin transfer in Co/Cu/Co multilayers and work on the impact of spin-other-orbit interactions on the magnetocrystalline anisotropy energy of the 3d transition metals. Far UV Physics. The Far UV Physics Group operates and continually improves SURF III. A newly installed near-UV Fourier transform interferometer will provide high-precision optical constants for the next-generation (157-nm) optical lithography. An upgrade of the RF system is under way to allow better control of the third harmonic of the resulting radiation beam, which will make it possible to control instabilities at low beam energies, resulting in more precise measurements for SURF III users. As pointed out in the previous assessment report, opportunities exist for exploiting the unique capabilities of SURF III in producing spectrally pure and easily tunable photons in the 3- to 6-eV energy regime, which covers the range of work functions. One option would be to install a photoelectron microscope that uses work function differences for producing contrast. Near threshold, the chromatic aberrations are negligible that affect the resolution at the higher energies used by other synchrotron light sources. Infrared spectroscopy and microscopy will benefit from the improved beam stability. The group should consider the possibility of exploiting these capabilities. Program Relevance and Effectiveness Many organizations are in crucial need of the capabilities and knowledge base of the Electron and Optical Physics Division. Among the customers of the Photon Physics and Far UV Physics Groups are
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 companies and agencies that need calibration standards for radiometry such as calibrated photodiodes, calibrated charge-coupled detectors for solar activity (Naval Research Laboratory), and transmission gratings for space astronomy. One large customer is the EUV Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) consortium, whose members include Intel, Motorola, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Major objectives of the consortium are quantitative assessment of radiation damage and lifetime of EUV optics, determination of optical constants, and reflectivity measurements for mirrors. The pioneering research activities of the Electron Physics Group in nanoscale science and technology ensure the work’s relevance to a wide spectrum of customers across industry, academia, and government. For example, the SEMPA capability for high-resolution magnetic imaging has spawned current collaborations with Seagate; IBM; MIT; Cambridge University; the Johns Hopkins University; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Utah; and NRL. Given its promise for fabricating nanostructures atom by atom and for measuring their electronic and magnetic properties, the Nanoscale Physics Laboratory is likely to generate customer interest on a number of fronts—among them, atom manipulation for device structures, the study of the intrinsic physics of atom-solid interactions, and quantum computing. As indicated above, quantum information processing and modulated doping are also potential application arenas for the “atom on demand” effort. Results of division research are shared with customers by many different means, including direct communications, presentations at technical meetings, and reports. The substantial number of high-quality papers by division researchers in the refereed scientific literature is especially noteworthy. The panel expects that the division will maintain this level of presence in the external technical community. Division Resources Funding sources for the Electron and Optical Physics Division are shown in Table 5.2. As of January 2002, staffing for the division included 23 full-time permanent positions, of which 20 were for TABLE 5.2 Sources of Funding for the Electron and Optical Physics Division (in millions of dollars), FY 1999 to FY 2002 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (actual) Fiscal Year 2001 (actual) Fiscal Year 2002 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 5.0 5.4 5.5 5.5 Competence 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.2 ATP 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.1 OA/NFG/CRADA 0.6 0.5 0.8 1.2 Other Reimbursable 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 Total 5.9 6.1 6.7 7.0 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 23 23 24 23 NOTE: Sources of funding are as described in the note accompanying Table 5.1. aThe number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 studying the intercalation kinetics of DNA tethered to surfaces. A fluorescence technique for time-resolved imaging of single biomolecules in gel electrophoresis is being developed in order to investigate the kinetics of conformational changes in real time. In a related area, a new JILA scientist was hired by NIST to create a program in biophysical measurement. This exciting new program merges optical-based measurement science, a strength of JILA, with single-molecule studies of fundamental biological processes. The current focus of the program is on measuring the motility of single biological molecules, for example, the movement of enzymes such as RNA polymerase along double-stranded DNA or the repair by recDNA of damaged DNA. Seven years after their initial observation of BEC, JILA researchers continue to lead the world in the study of ultracold, dilute atomic gases. The exceptionally creative and important ideas being developed at JILA have vitalized and catalyzed research in this area throughout the international scientific community. Experimental and theoretical work over the past 2 years has focused on the study of interacting Bose and Fermi systems with tunable mean-field interactions, vortex dynamics and vortex lattices, mechanisms for efficient production of degenerate Fermi gases, spectroscopy in very high density samples, techniques for efficient and cost-effective production of these ensembles, and techniques to guide and manipulate ultracold atoms. Each of these studies is of very high scientific and technical caliber. Theoretical work in this area continues at the highest level and includes studies of molecular condensate formation and fermion pairing, as well as ultracold atom collisions. This work will have impact on fundamental science and on technological applications. Scientifically, the study of these systems challenges existing theoretical paradigms, paradigms that are at the forefront of AMO and condensed matter physics. Technologically, BEC and degenerate Fermi systems may enable new generations of ultrasensitive force sensors and time standards. From a broader perspective, the current revolution in nanoscience and quantum information science hinges on understanding the interface between quantum and classical systems. Study of macroscopic quantum BEC and degenerate Fermi samples provides a unique and fruitful path to further knowledge in this area. In a study with astrophysical implications, a JILA fellow has developed a new theoretical method of calculating the rate of dissociative recombination of H3+ ions struck by low-energy electrons. The distinguishing feature of the calculation is the recognition of the role of Jahn-Teller coupling in the recombination process. This phenomenon has been almost universally ignored in previous theoretical attempts, but it is of critical importance in the proper treatment of the dissociative recombination phenomenon in high-symmetry ions such as H3+. The Jahn-Teller interaction also figured prominently in ultrafast measurements performed by another research group on the vibrational dynamics of Ag3 formed in a nonequilibrium linear geometry by photodetachment of an electron from Ag3−. The subsequent bending into the near-equilateral configuration, followed by vibrational randomization within the triple-minimum Jahn-Teller potential energy surface, could be clearly followed with 100-fs time resolution in this experiment. Ultrafast cluster dynamics have also been probed by photodetachment of an electron from the OH-(N2O)m system, leading to the formation of the potentially reactive OH-(N2O) system. The aim of these studies is to learn to prepare bimolecular reaction precursors at well-defined initial conditions for subsequent investigation by ultrafast pump-probe spectroscopy. This approach can yield valuable new information about chemical reaction dynamics in such systems. In a study of two-electron ejection from a helium atom subjected to an intense pulsed laser field, another group has been able to determine that the dominant mechanism of two-electron ejection is a “recollision mechanism.” Here, the intense laser field accelerates the ejected electron so that it collides with the helium ion again, causing a second electron to be ejected. This is related to processes that are used to generate high harmonics of pulsed laser radiation, and an improved understanding of these processes is likely to result from this work.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 Another JILA group has succeeded in employing a high-order harmonic of a femtosecond pulsed Ti:sapphire laser to generate photoelectron spectra as a function of the time following preparation of the system by a pump laser pulse. This is a major breakthrough, allowing ultrafast probes of chemical dynamics in the gas phase or on surfaces, using the well-understood method of soft x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Another important ultrafast investigation has produced a method to implement an evolutionary algorithm to vary the frequency-dependent phases that are contained in a femtosecond pump pulse, so that a particular molecular outcome is optimized. These results will be important for future work employing molecular wave packets to develop quantum-computing algorithms. Another project uses high-resolution infrared (IR) laser spectroscopy to detect and investigate the reactivity of free radicals, such as those that play an important role in chemical processes of atmospheric or industrial significance. A unique combination of methods involving plasma discharge methods of formation, long-path-length laser absorption methods, and slit supersonic jets is producing spectroscopic data of unprecedented detail. The findings are especially valuable for laser remote sensing of these species. Some attention is also being given to systems where the Born-Oppenheimer approximation is invalid. Similar state-of-the-art techniques are being employed to investigate the state-to-state dynamics for several systems, with emphasis currently on hydrogen abstraction reactions. The result is data that will illuminate crucial details governing the reaction dynamics of atom-diatom systems; this approach has yielded full quantum specifications of the products at far higher resolution than acquired in crossed-beam time-of-flight methods. Direct IR laser absorption techniques developed as part of this work are being used to investigate quantum-state resolved dynamics of reactions at gas-liquid interfaces. The focus is on heterogeneous reactions that may be important in the atmosphere as well as those operative in internal combustion processes. Astrophysics. The vibrant Astrophysics Program continues to produce excellent results. Its high output of publications, almost entirely in refereed journals, is an indication of the quality of this group, and its work continues to serve the scientific communities and granting agencies that are their primary customers. Some of the highlights of the results from the past 2 years follow. One project is a study of the various modes of accretion onto black holes. JILA fellows have shown that under some circumstances, the accretion flow near the black hole is coupled to magnetic fields that thread the black hole itself. Consequently, most of the energy dissipation in the disk occurs closer to the black hole than expected. This result makes important predictions for future x-ray observatories. In another project, the same hydrodynamical methods have been employed to study the formation of planets in protoplanetary disks. These disks are also studied spectroscopically at JILA, using data obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope and other satellites. This spectroscopic work provides information on the chemistry occurring within the disks and is relevant to other JILA activities. Another project using hydrodynamical simulation is the work on Supernova 1987a. A JILA fellow’s prediction that the supernova ejecta would run into a surrounding ring of gas is now being confirmed by experimental data, and the next phase of his work focuses on studying the developing interaction between the ejecta and the ring by interpreting data from NASA satellites. Fluid dynamical simulations are also being used to study the sun. Helioseismology (the study of low-amplitude solar oscillations in millions of normal modes) permits measurements of many physical parameters (such as temperature and rotation speed) deep within the sun; it has allowed scientists to discover that, contrary to theoretical expectations, the sun does not rotate with velocity constant on cylinders. The data instead seem more consistent with rotational velocity constant along radial rays at large distances from the center. Simulations at JILA are being used to test the theory that this behavior is a consequence of turbulence in this region in the sun.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 Other projects include a comparison between the calculations of the spectrum of anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background and the observations of the background. The goal is to find the best-possible estimates of the fundamental parameters of the universe—the mass and energy densities, the curvature of space, the baryon density, and the expansion rate. The project on formation of pregalactic magnetic fields in the youthful universe with no seed fields is focused on understanding the generation of the first magnetic fields, which has been a theoretical challenge for some time. In the 2000 assessment report, the subpanel noted that JILA’s efforts in gravitational wave research (with connections to the international Laser Interferometer Space Antenna [LISA] program) represented an important synergy between the technology of precision measurement and metrology and the activity in theoretical astrophysics. Unfortunately, one key departure and a critical retirement have greatly reduced the level of activity in this area. In the United States, the center of the LISA program has shifted from JILA scientists (who initiated the project) to NASA centers. Nonetheless, one emeritus JILA fellow is still on the LISA team and remains a spark plug for this project. The Role of Astrophysics at JILA. As JILA works on defining its vision and planning for its future, one key issue will continue to be the place of astrophysics at JILA, as has been discussed in past reports. The original mission for JILA focused strongly on laboratory astrophysics but has evolved a great deal since then. When NIST formally withdrew from supporting astrophysical research in the mid-1990s, the NIST section of JILA focused on developing a world-class center of excellence in atomic, molecular, optical, and chemical physics. In the late 1990s, the decision was made that the astrophysics fellows still at JILA, on the CU side, would leave JILA and take up residence in the CU Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, where they all already had faculty appointments. However, since that time, it has become evident that a lack of space on campus will preclude such a move. Therefore, it appears at this time that JILA expects astrophysics to remain as a significant element of JILA and expects the JILA astrophysics fellows to continue to play an active role in JILA management. This shift is evident in the broader vision for JILA that includes the astrophysics community as well as ongoing chemical and physics research and in the discussion of whether an experimental astrophysicist might be hired to take advantage of potential synergies between precision laser measurement expertise and applications of this technology for future space missions. Currently, there are eight JILA fellows with joint appointments in the CU Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. All are theoretical astrophysicists. Significant research collaborations between the astrophysicists and the other JILA fellows were not evident at this time, but both groups do appear to value the casual intellectual interactions that occur due to their collocation. Hiring an experimental astrophysicist with interests in the development of cutting-edge astronomical detector technologies could certainly help strengthen the overall relationship of these two groups. Areas of possible synergy would include transition-edge superconducting devices, interferometry and high-precision metrology, gravitational wave physics and precision gravity, and submillimeter detector development. The subpanel acknowledges that finding the right person for this position, someone who is simultaneously an excellent scientist and a superb technologist, would be difficult, but the rewards would be better bridges between the JILA atomic, molecular, and optical sciences group and the JILA astrophysicists and between JILA and the CU Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Department as a whole. Program Relevance and Effectiveness JILA is a vibrant interdisciplinary research institute of the highest caliber. The results and products of JILA’s programs serve a number of potential customers, including researchers in academia, industry,
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 and government, and the public. Appropriately, JILA’s primary focus is on scientific and technical communities. The JILA fellows communicate information about ongoing and completed projects to this audience in a variety of ways, including presentations, invited talks, public talks, and publications. These outputs have served researchers well, and JILA clearly continues to be dedicated to these forms of dissemination. During 2000 and 2001, the number of technical papers increased from the previous review period to 340 publications (up by 56 percent), the number of invited talks doubled to 360, and the number of guest researchers rose from 50 to 56. However, apparently because of budget considerations, the number of visiting fellows at JILA will be significantly reduced for the 2002-2003 season. The visiting fellows program brings distinguished scientists to JILA for longer periods of time (4 to 12 months) than might otherwise be possible; these scientists bring new expertise to JILA, and their visits often lead to fruitful, long-term collaborative relationships. This program is a key component of the intellectual vitality of the institute and is an integral part of its ability to serve the scientific community. The subpanel believes that ways to reinvigorate this valuable program should be explored. JILA interactions with industry do not seem to be as productive as its relationships with the academic community, and these industrial interactions do not appear to be a high priority for JILA. There were no distinguished visitors from industry during the last two review periods (i.e., since 1998). In the mid-1990s, JILA did have a small but growing industrial outreach program managed by one of the JILA fellows, but this activity has all but disappeared. Currently, the one relevant formal activity is the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Integrative Graduate Education, Research, and Training (IGERT) Optical Science and Engineering Program (OSEP) at the University of Colorado. This program funds graduate students working in optics and includes a summer internship in an optics-intensive U.S. company. Several students at JILA participate in this program. Many of the areas of research under way at JILA are particularly interesting to industry, such as the work on time and frequency standards, on advances in ultrafast lasers, and on phase control of ultrafast lasers for precision measurements. JILA fellows, staff, and students would definitely benefit from ongoing interactions with companies that share their interest in the research and technologies central to JILA programs. Also, support for the U.S. economy, in which high-technology industries play a key role, is a key element of the NIST mission. The subpanel learned in conversations with individual fellows that informal interactions do occur between fellows and researchers from both small and large companies, and the subpanel applauds these interactions. However, there was no sign that any formal program was in place to support or encourage these activities, nor was there any indication that these impromptu exchanges of information with individuals from industry were being tracked so that company people might be contacted again for follow-up or for input about or dissemination of future projects of potential interest to these individuals or to others at their companies. In addition to increasing awareness and tracking of industrial interactions, JILA should also consider establishing a corporate affiliates program to facilitate interaction with companies. The benefits of such a program would include improved visibility of JILA within the broad industrial community, insight into a new set of problems and research areas, expanded employment opportunities for graduating students, and potential increased support for JILA research programs.13 A final element of increased management attention to the issues surrounding industrial interactions should be the careful consideration of a formalized set of policies to guide effective and appropriate technology transfer. JILA currently lacks guidelines in this area, and hence the technology transfer that is occurring takes place on 13 Over the longer term, affiliates programs in similar laboratories have produced relationships that provided up to 10 percent of the total support for the laboratory.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 an ad hoc basis by individuals adopting what they perceive to be a proper approach. While acknowledging that different relationships will have differing degrees of formality, the range of possible approaches should be clearly spelled out so that JILA scientists are not at risk when faced with the complex options in the technology-transfer arena. JILA should work with both NIST and the University of Colorado to develop a more formal process for technology transfer, both to assist with meeting the public good of transferring technology to the industry and to assist its own fellows, scientists, postdoctoral scholars, and students in understanding and managing the potential conflict-of-interest issues. For people outside the academic and industrial science and technology communities, JILA also has activities designed to reach a more general audience. All JILA fellows teach CU classes, and one astrophysics fellow is developing interactive Web-based teaching tools, now being adopted by others in the group, that are among the most innovative and exciting in the country. JILA fellows participate in the CU Wizards program, which provides monthly public presentations by CU professors to elementary school students on various topics in science. JILA personnel also interact with local museums; one fellow has been actively involved in the development of interactive exhibits (including a black hole flight simulator) with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Recently, existing public outreach efforts have been augmented by the many requests for the two Nobel laureates to give scientific and public lectures about their work. Finally, a distinctive example of the broad dissemination and wide impact of work done at JILA and NIST is the important and increasingly visible program in time standard distribution. This activity is currently maintained by a JILA fellow from the NIST Time and Frequency Division, which operates an Internet time service that responds to requests for time in a number of standard computerized formats. As of January 2002, these servers were receiving roughly 350 million requests per day, and the demand was growing at a compounded rate of 8.5 percent per month. The success of this service, utilized worldwide, rests on the technology for accurate dissemination of time developed at NIST over many years. For example, the JILA fellow has recently received patents for techniques for dissemination of authenticated time stamps. JILA Resources Funding sources for the NIST Quantum Physics Division are shown in Table 5.7. In the 2000-2001 academic year, NIST contributed roughly $6.5 million to JILA; the University of Colorado contributed roughly $5.5 million to JILA; and outside contracts, grants, and visitor contributions provided roughly $11.7 million (of which about $6.6 million was from NSF). This brought the total 2000-2001 funding for JILA to approximately $23.7 million. Staffing for the NIST Quantum Physics Division currently includes 12 full-time permanent positions, of which 10 are for technical professionals. There are also 7 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral fellows and part-time workers. Among the University of Colorado staff, there are 16 JILA fellows. JILA counts 10 Quantum Physics Division researchers and 1 Time and Frequency Division researcher among its fellows and fellow-track members, with expertise in chemistry (2), physics (8), and biology (1). On the CU side, the 18 fellows and fellow-track members are on the faculty of the CU Chemistry (2), Physics (7), and Astrophysics (9) Departments. It is hard to think of another institution in the world today besides JILA that carries out such truly important work and accomplishes so much with the limited resources available to it. As previous subpanels have pointed out, JILA’s success is attributable to several key elements: the partnership between CU and NIST, the synergy and talents of the researchers, adequate and flexible funding,
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 TABLE 5.7 Sources of Funding for the NIST Quantum Physics Division (in millions of dollars), FY 1999 to FY 2002 Source of Funding Fiscal Year 1999 (actual) Fiscal Year 2000 (actual) Fiscal Year 2001 (actual) Fiscal Year 2002 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 3.6 3.8 3.9 5.2 Competence 0.3 0.5 0.9 0.4 ATP 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.6 OA/NFG/CRADA 0.6 0.7 0.5 0.3 Other Reimbursable 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.3 Total 5.8 6.5 6.8 7.8 Full-time permanent staff (total)a 11 11 11 12 NOTE: Sources of funding are as described in the note accompanying Table 5.1. aThe number of full-time permanent staff is as of January of that fiscal year. excellent technical support, inspired management, a stable and very effective staff, and the physical proximity of its researchers. It is clear to the subpanel that JILA’s leadership has focused considerable effort on the management of these elements of success, in recognition that decline in any of them could seriously weaken the institute. Although largely fruitful, these efforts have met with significant challenges in the past several years, and especially so since the last subpanel review in 2000. These are discussed in the remainder of the report. Left unsolved, these challenges could seriously impair JILA’s ability to do leading-edge science and to recruit and retain talented researchers and will significantly impact the return on NIST’s investments in JILA. Personnel Fellows. Six new fellows have been hired over the past 3 years, and JILA’s ability to attract, hire, and mentor outstanding young scientists is a testament to the exciting and supportive atmosphere that pervades the JILA culture. The subpanel was greatly impressed by the superb scientific programs that each of these fellows is developing and commends the management for continuing to provide a unique and nurturing environment in which these young scientists can excel. However, the success of JILA and its high visibility in the scientific community has a downside: the risk that key individuals may be the targets of recruitment by other institutions. The fellows clearly believe that JILA is a wonderful environment in which to work, but resource and infrastructure limitations certainly do exist; as in all government laboratories, salaries and funding can be an issue. While JILA appears to be able to provide competitive salaries at the early stages of careers, it is possible that the more prominent senior fellows from NIST could receive higher compensation in academia, and other institutions may be willing to offer superior salaries, start-up packages, and infrastructure. On the other hand, NIST’s flexibility in its ability to allocate internal resources to particular areas can work to its advantage, as supplemental research funds can be an important component of a retention package. In addition, the spirit of collaboration and synergistic activity that pervades JILA and the excellence of its
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 shops and support people make the institute a very attractive work situation and in general have enabled the retention of sought-after fellows. For the first time in many years, a NIST-employed JILA fellow is leaving JILA for another institution. Some turnover at JILA is not by definition a negative event. While the departure of this fellow and his large group working in the area of physical chemistry will definitely be a loss, it is also an opportunity for technical evolution of the JILA programs and a chance to consider new directions. As noted above, JILA has clearly demonstrated the ability to hire and nurture outstanding young scientists, and the subpanel is confident that JILA will continue to be able to attract exciting new researchers to the institution. However, transitions are always difficult, and the period following the departure of this fellow in the summer of 2002 will be a very complicated time owing to a number of factors, related in part to the relationship between JILA and the CU Chemistry Department. The most important decision facing JILA will be what scientific fields to recruit in during the next few years. This issue is not a new one and has been raised in past subpanel assessment reports. The subpanel continues to note that a clear vision for the future of JILA would help guide these decisions. Such choices also must be made in the context of the expertise and programs of the current fellows, and that context will change significantly with the departure of the large group that represents roughly half of the current physical chemistry efforts at JILA. Where JILA will go from here is not clear, and the subpanel feels most strongly that strategic decisions must be made on the basis of how best to maintain JILA’s extraordinary ability to produce cutting-edge work in science and technology and support the NIST mission. At this juncture, it is important and healthy for JILA to consider the centrality of the physical chemistry effort to the institute’s mission. Should the released resources—especially space— be used to develop other research areas such as biophysics or instrumental astrophysics? What would be the long-range consequences of a reduced level of physical chemistry activities in JILA? Several current technical programs, such as the Bose-Einstein condensate work, incorporate physical chemistry expertise and techniques into their projects; would the loss of this discipline within the institute compromise JILA’s ability to move into new frontier areas in the future? Determining the answers to questions such as these is a complicated process. The subpanel was deeply concerned to learn that this process may be subverted by factors that are inappropriately limiting JILA’s ability to consider recruiting in all appropriate technical areas. While each fellow at JILA is officially associated with either CU or NIST, all have an appointment in a CU academic department. The NIST fellows are usually adjunct professors, but they teach and train CU students at JILA just as the CU fellows do. Therefore, JILA hiring decisions are not made entirely on the basis of JILA’s needs, but in the context of the needs of various departments. This system can be very productive, as seen in the recent hiring of a biophysicist at JILA who will bring to campus new expertise of interest to the Physics Department; the Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology Department; and possibly the Applied Mathematics Department. However, the system depends heavily on collegial relationships between JILA and the non-JILA faculty in the departments. In the physical chemistry area of the Chemistry Department, the relationships are not cordial, and there is concern at JILA and on the subpanel that this tension may make it impossible to find a mutually acceptable physical chemist to hire.14 JILA will not be without physical chemistry immediately upon the departure of the fellow in 2002, but the anticipated retirement of another physical chemist in the next year or two will reduce JILA to one 14 Hiring a JILA fellow who is not associated with a CU department is not an option, as the new fellow would be severely hindered in her or his efforts to build a research group involving graduate students as well as postdoctoral scholars.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 experimental physical chemist. One is not a community, and there is a real risk that physical chemistry at JILA may disappear altogether. This would be acceptable only if JILA had decided that such a shift in its focus was appropriate and necessary and had planned a smooth transition and alternative approaches to providing JILA fellows with access to needed physical chemistry expertise. If, however, the relationship with the Chemistry Department forces JILA into a decision that is not based on a careful assessment of the centrality of physical chemistry to JILA’s mission, that will be a very unacceptable outcome. JILA management, the JILA fellows, NIST, and CU are facing a very challenging set of circumstances, and the subpanel urges all concerned to work toward resolution of the situation. In the past, the subpanel has suggested that JILA consider establishing a committee to liaise with university departments, but it is clear that a more formal and extensive effort will be needed. Both NIST and CU benefit greatly from the success of JILA, and JILA’s health as an institution depends heavily on the identification of common interests with CU’s academic departments. Therefore, the subpanel recommends that NIST and CU work together to ensure coordination and healthy collaborations with relevant CU departments, including Chemistry; Physics; Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences; and possibly the Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology Department and the Applied Mathematics Department. One possible approach would be for NIST and CU to jointly establish a committee charged with examining the current status of the working relations between JILA and the relevant CU departments. The committee would report findings and recommendations to both NIST and CU. Even if the situation with the Chemistry Department is resolved, the transitions of the next few years still have the potential to make this time an unsettled period at JILA. The loss of a prominent colleague after a serious retention effort is demoralizing. The vacancies associated with the retirement of a number of senior fellows over the next 5 or so years also have the potential to create tension at an institution run to a remarkable degree by consensus processes. Special care must be taken to assure that a departure does not stimulate additional departures that could lead to the collapse of the extraordinary and productive environment now at JILA. Management. JILA’s management structure and governance structure with a rotating chair of JILA and a permanent chief of the NIST Quantum Physics Division appears to work well. The absence of a formal mechanism for long-range planning seems unusual, but it appears to be mitigated by a shared sense of vision among some of the senior fellows. While the institute makes sensible and even inspired decisions about its future within its present structure, a more formalized planning mechanism could improve JILA’s ability to respond to difficult situations (such as the hiring decisions to be made in the wake of this year’s departure of a fellow and issues related to facilities problems and improvements). The management of the NIST Quantum Physics Division, which is a subset of JILA, has additional responsibilities to ensure support of the NIST mission. The subpanel finds that although a great deal of attention is paid to hiring and resource matters, long-range planning and management of industrial interactions and intellectual property are not addressed at the same level. Staff, Students, and Postdoctoral Researchers. The subpanel was impressed by the positive morale among staff, students, and postdoctoral researchers at JILA. They all appeared to feel privileged to be associated with the institute and seem to receive significant satisfaction from participating in important and interesting work. The comments below reflect topics that were discussed when the subpanel met separately with each of these groups. The support staff is highly capable and the electronics and machine shops at JILA are of very high
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 caliber; access to these JILA shops, technicians, and support people is a key contributor to JILA’s success. There is a strong esprit de corps among JILA employees, who feel appreciated by the scientific staff. A new program is a series of Tuesday meetings, in which the fellows describe specifically for the staff the technical work they are supporting. These meetings are very valuable and are appreciated by the staff. Continued enhancement of modes of communication will reinforce the atmosphere of mutual respect that pervades the laboratory. Graduate students also appeared to be very happy at JILA. The only potential concern expressed was the variation in the level of support provided, as stipends and benefits depend on the students’ home department and on whether they are affiliated with OSEP. Finally, the postdoctoral scholars expressed similar levels of pride at being associated with JILA. They were particularly impressed with its infrastructure. The major inconvenience for them related to the policy of making postdoctoral scholar appointments for 1 year at a time, even though these appointments are typically renewed for a total appointment of 2 or 3 years. While the rationale for this approach is certainly sensible, it poses a real burden for foreign scholars, who must return to their home countries to reapply for a visa after the first year. This absence is disruptive to research and expensive for the researcher. The fellows may wish to examine the tenures of their past postdoctoral scholars and consider whether an initial 2-year appointment would be in the best interests of the research groups and of JILA. Facilities The previous subpanel review called attention to several challenges posed by JILA’s aging and inadequate physical plant. The shortcomings fall into two categories. First, there is a serious, long-term, crowding problem; the amount of space is insufficient to accommodate the activities of all of the JILA fellows and their groups. Next year, JILA will have a temporary reprieve on this front when a significant part of the physical chemistry activity leaves and a good deal of laboratory space will be freed up. While this newly available space will relieve the crowding in the short term, a long-term solution is still needed. There is funding in the 2005 NIST budget projection for vertical expansion of the present building, and corresponding funding exists in the CU plan. The subpanel did not see detailed plans for this expansion, but the funding levels discussed (a total of about $6 million) do not seem to be consistent with the magnitude of the desired expansion (adding about 50 percent more space). Additionally, the contemplated plan for expansion involves the addition of stories above and below the present building, which will be rather disruptive to the ongoing research activities of the laboratory. If JILA obtains the funding and goes forward with this approach, a plan to mitigate the disturbance associated with the construction will be needed before work starts. The second class of facilities issues relates to problems associated with the physical condition of the current facility. The building is showing its age, and the environmental control in many of the laboratories is inadequate. While the skills and creativity of JILA scientists and staff are compensating for the dust, inadequate ventilation, and poor thermal control in the JILA laboratories, the subpanel believes that this is a temporary and inefficient solution to the problems. Efforts are being made to find funding for improvements (CU recently agreed to provide $500,000 specifically targeted at improving temperature control), and technological solutions are currently being found at the level of individual rooms. This approach, while better than working in inadequate space, is still not cost-effective. For example, temperature control was improved in one laboratory recently so that single-molecule manipulation could be performed, but the extension of similar capabilities to the other laboratories on a room-by-room basis will require much more than the $500,000 currently available.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 JILA’s Responsiveness The subpanel found that, on the whole, JILA had been somewhat responsive to the recommendations made in the previous (2000) assessment report. The subpanel was pleased by JILA’s actions in the area of hiring interdisciplinary researchers and on facilities issues but concerned about JILA’s lack of action in developing a vision for the institute, putting together a committee to nurture relationships with CU academic departments, and focusing and tracking its industrial interactions. With respect to the positive actions—in 2000, the subpanel recommended that, as new fellows with research activities in interdisciplinary areas were hired, JILA should develop new partnerships with relevant CU departments. In 2001, a new fellow with biophysics expertise joined JILA, and through him, ties are being formed to molecular biology and applied mathematics faculty on the CU campus. This is a positive step for both JILA and CU, and in future years the subpanel will assess the evolution of these relationships. In 2000, the subpanel also recommended that NIST and CU find ways to improve the quality and quantity of laboratory space. This is a difficult task because of the large amount of money and time required to make a significant difference in facilities, but the subpanel was pleased to see that JILA, NIST, and CU management are making active and creative efforts to address the problem. Some progress has been made, and the subpanel will continue to monitor the situation. The subpanel was disappointed to learn that there were three recommendations from the 2000 report on which JILA took no action: To develop a strategic vision for the JILA of the future to guide hiring and resource allocation decisions; To appoint a committee to strengthen ties to all the CU departments with which JILA is allied; and To determine what industrial activity at JILA should be, review JILA’s track record with meaningful metrics, and put in place a plan for industrial activities that is appropriate to the JILA-NIST mission. While the subpanel recognizes that the recommended actions can be difficult tasks, it was concerned that no attempts at these actions appear to have been made and that no reason for JILA’s lack of action in these areas was provided to the subpanel. The subpanel was particularly uncomfortable with JILA’s lack of action in the first area. The subpanel recognizes that despite the absence of a formal long-range plan, JILA has been able to optimize its course. Nevertheless, strategic thinking has been called for by previous panels and formal strategic planning is currently a focus area within NIST. The 2002 panel was able to obtain a vision statement from JILA management during the assessment, but this is only a beginning: the statement was not reviewed by the JILA fellows, and the strategic ramifications of the statement have not been developed. The lack of progress in the other two areas is also unsettling. Evidence for difficult relations with some CU departments was obvious in 2000, and this has since become a major issue. The casual attitude about coordination of industrial activities is difficult to understand, considering that the NIST mission includes supporting the U.S. economy. Lack of progress in these three areas is unacceptable and should be actively monitored in the reviews by future subpanels. Major Observations of the Subpanel The subpanel presents the following major findings and recommendations.
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 2002 Findings The JILA programs, supported by CU and by NIST as well as by government contracts, thrive in an environment of interactive research in which synergies between the fellows are exploited across multiple disciplines. JILA’s record of successful identification, appointment, and career development of fellows is a key factor in producing the high-quality research that occurs at JILA. JILA is an extraordinary, vibrant institution, thanks to a confluence of several key elements of success, including the partnership between CU and NIST, the synergy between and physical proximity of the researchers, excellent technical support, and adequate and flexible funding. However, some issues, such as resource and infrastructure limitations that may affect retention, pose a challenge to the preservation of all of the elements that contribute to JILA’s success. A formal vision for JILA, which could guide critical decisions, has not yet been developed. Through creative and exciting research, JILA serves its academic customers with distinction. However, JILA’s service to industry continues to be less organized and less effective than is desirable, and JILA has in fact lost ground in developing its industrial connections since the last assessment in 2000. The transfer of discoveries and inventions to the commercial stream for public benefit is one aspect of the mission and responsibility of JILA, but the lack of guidelines on effective technology transfer places fellows at risk when they are faced with the complexities of conflict-of-interest issues in technology transfer and industrial interactions. The departure of a senior NIST JILA fellow is an opportunity for growth and evolution, and recruitment of new staff will be facilitated by JILA’s current high visibility in the scientific community. However, the strained relationship between JILA and the CU Chemistry Department is constraining JILA’s ability to hire new physical chemists, making it very difficult for JILA to make rational decisions about the future direction of physical chemistry at JILA. The quality of the physical plant at JILA is not commensurate with the quality of the science, and, though some progress has been made, adequate funds are not currently available to fully remedy this situation. The existence of superb shops and staff have enabled the fellows to do world-class work, but spending time and money on “work-arounds” is not cost-effective. Recommendations NIST and CU should jointly establish a committee to examine the current status of the working relations of JILA with relevant CU departments, including Chemistry; Physics; Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences; and possibly Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology and Applied Mathematics. The committee should be charged by and report back to both NIST and CU with its findings and recommendations. JILA should establish a formal program to support and encourage industrial interactions and should track these interactions. JILA, working jointly with NIST and CU, also needs to establish and formalize policies for technology transfer and best practices in interactions with companies. The JILA laboratory needs a comprehensive space and renovation plan. NIST and CU should provide the funding needed to implement such a plan. JILA should debate and build on its newly proposed vision in order to develop an overall vision for the future of JILA; this vision should provide a context for critical decisions about hiring and infrastructure improvements that need to be made in the next few years.
Representative terms from entire chapter: