The mission of the Physics Laboratory (PL) is to support U.S. industry by providing measurement services and research for electronic, optical, and radiation technologies. The laboratory is organized in six divisions, as shown in Appendix A:
Atomic Physics Division,
Electron and Optical Physics Division,
Ionizing Radiation Division,
Optical Technology Division,
Time and Frequency Division, and
Quantum Physics Division.
The Atomic Physics Division hosts an extremely strong theory group in atomic physics. Work of the Quantum Processes and Metrology Group continues to support groundbreaking developments in the understanding of Bose-Einstein condensation processes.
The breadth and depth of magnetics research in the Electron and Optical Physics Division remain strong. As an example, theory work involves studies of electronic and magnetic properties of magnetic nanostructures with a focus on current-induced magnetization reversal and domain wall motion. This work, which can ultimately lead to a capability of modeling current in small structures, is at the forefront of the field; the quality and importance of the results achieved are widely recognized.
The Ionizing Radiation Division remains the premier group in the United States for defining radiation quantities and units of exposure, for performing and/or certifying calibrations, and for recom-
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 8 Physics Laboratory INTRODUCTION The mission of the Physics Laboratory (PL) is to support U.S. industry by providing measurement services and research for electronic, optical, and radiation technologies. The laboratory is organized in six divisions, as shown in Appendix A: Atomic Physics Division, Electron and Optical Physics Division, Ionizing Radiation Division, Optical Technology Division, Time and Frequency Division, and Quantum Physics Division. Appendix A also presents the staffing trends for the laboratory (see Figure A.8). MAJOR OBSERVATIONS The Atomic Physics Division hosts an extremely strong theory group in atomic physics. Work of the Quantum Processes and Metrology Group continues to support groundbreaking developments in the understanding of Bose-Einstein condensation processes. The breadth and depth of magnetics research in the Electron and Optical Physics Division remain strong. As an example, theory work involves studies of electronic and magnetic properties of magnetic nanostructures with a focus on current-induced magnetization reversal and domain wall motion. This work, which can ultimately lead to a capability of modeling current in small structures, is at the forefront of the field; the quality and importance of the results achieved are widely recognized. The Ionizing Radiation Division remains the premier group in the United States for defining radiation quantities and units of exposure, for performing and/or certifying calibrations, and for recom-
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 mending standards and procedures in medicine, industry, and national programs. Four accomplishments during this assessment period are considered to have notable significance: the development of self-consistent testing and evaluation protocols for radiological instrumentation and training standards for their use; the development of nuclear and explosive materials radioanalytical methods for emergency-response measurements; the development of neutron imaging to allow the tracking of water formation in proton exchange membrane (PEM)-type fuel cells; and the installation and commissioning of the high-energy computer tomography facility and the Clinac 2100 accelerator. The Optical Technology Division maintains a long-term core commitment to high-accuracy measurements in radiometry, photometry, and spectroradiometry. The division is commended for its continuing efforts to develop new approaches to calibration over a wide spectral range, from the far-infrared through the extreme ultraviolet (EUV). The Quantum Physics Division has produced a steady stream of outstanding technical accomplishments over the years. Of particular note during this assessment period is the work on Bose condensation of pairs of Fermi atoms, which is at the forefront of this rapidly moving area. One of the great accomplishments in the Time and Frequency Division this year has been the progress achieved on the chip-scale atomic clock project. This work supports Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) goals to design a miniature clock that will put enhanced communication and navigation capabilities into the hands of the battlefield soldier. During the assessment period there has been excellent progress in the development and advancement of optical standards, an area in which NIST excels. Work in the science of precision frequency standards and related standards for quantum computing is at the frontiers of knowledge. The promising results on aluminum/beryllium entangled state clocks have the potential not only to provide significant advancement in frequency accuracy but also to bring advances in fundamental areas of physics. A challenge faced by the Physics Laboratory is the need to retain and recruit high-profile scientists who are in demand by universities or industry. The Time and Frequency Division should prioritize its investments in the development of technologies and more effectively communicate why such development is relevant. For example, a customer-focused approach is needed to justify improving the accuracy of several types of clocks by order(s) of magnitude. TECHNICAL QUALITY AND MERIT The Quantum Processes and Metrology Group within the Atomic Physics Division is an extremely strong theory group in atomic physics, with efforts in the development of realistic theoretical models for cold atom interactions, matter waves, nanoscale devices and metrology, nano-optics, and quantum information. A particularly noteworthy example of the group’s contributions is the use of theoretical understandings of Feshbach resonances to control the strength of interactions in ultracold atomic gases. This approach supports the groundbreaking work at the laboratory on molecular Bose-Einstein condensation. The laboratory houses a highly sophisticated facility for scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atom manipulation focusing on low-temperature STM and structures at the atomic level. Cobalt atoms have been manipulated on the Cu (111) surface, and the detailed mechanism of the atomic mechanism of the manipulation process has been analyzed in great detail, leading to a high-profile publication in the journal Science (Stroscio and Celotta, 2004). The goal is atom-based metrology, using these techniques to obtain a binding energy map of the atomic surface. A very exciting but challenging long-range goal
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 is the automated fabrication of nanoscale devices atom by atom, something akin to a semiconductor fabrication on the atomic scale. If successful, such a facility would achieve the ultimate precision in fabricating electronic devices that operate with single electrons or photons at the quantum limit. The choice of projects of this laboratory is noteworthy, setting precision standards for nanotechnology. Magnetics projects in the laboratory are considered to be outstanding. The breadth and depth of the magnetics research in general are outstanding. As an example, PL theory work involves studies of electronic and magnetic properties of magnetic nanostructures. One focus is current-induced magnetization reversal, and another is current-induced domain wall motion. The motivation is understanding and predicting behavior as seen by scanning electron microscopy with polarization analysis (SEMPA), and in general being able to model current in small structures. This work is at the forefront of the field, and extremely well known worldwide for the quality and importance of the results that are achieved. Other projects in this area are understanding noise in magnetic sensors (giant magnetoresistance, superconducting quantum interference device [SQUID])—in particular, finding the origin of the noise and what is needed to eliminate it. Initial results find that damping and noise are connected; the source of one is the source of another, and understanding damping in magnetic systems is critical to understanding fundamental noise sources. This part of the work is supported by NIST competence funding that involves scientists at both Gaithersburg and Boulder laboratory sites. This work is carried out by a very qualified group of people working in the area of magnetic sensors, and the project has promise. Theoretical studies are under way to calculate the large-scale electronic structure of adatom/tip interactions of STM atom moving. This work, too, couples with other work in the laboratory, and because the lead scientist is well known for his expertise in electronic structure, the project seems very well motivated. The imaging of small structures achieved with SEMPA instrumentation is a valuable tool for the laboratory, and the results that are achieved are related to current industrial thrusts. This apparatus can detect 1,000 Fe atoms in one spot—for example, in nanoscale magnetic domains that are of crucial interest for magnetic data storage. The focus of SEMPA work is on applications involving nanometer-scale magnetic devices, such as imaging magnetic random access memory (MRAM) devices (magnetic domains, spin polarization); magnetic sensors for biology (SQUIDs); current-driven domain wall movement and spin torques (with theory work); deposition of stripe materials for ultraviolet (UV) lithography; and nonvolatile programmable logic. The issue of the spin polarization of current in nanodevices is of continuing importance, with the additional use of the SEMPA images to provide boundary conditions for micromagnetic calculations. The project has external funding from companies such as IBM and Hitachi, as well as contributions in kind from universities annually. The Ionizing Radiation Division remains the premier group in the United States for defining radiation quantities, including the gray, the sievert, and units of exposure; performing and/or certifying calibrations; and recommending standards and procedures in medicine, industry, and national programs such as those of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The technical competency of the group and the quality of the work in this arena are outstanding. Four accomplishments in this area during this assessment period have notable significance: (1) the development of self-consistent testing and evaluation protocols for radiological instrumentation as well as training standards to ensure the proper use of radiation detection equipment for first responders in the case of a radiological event (an effort supporting DHS); (2) the development of nuclear and explosive materials (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive) radio analytical methods for emergency-response measurements (also supporting DHS); (3) the development of a high-resolution, nondestructive neutron imaging technique that allows studies of the formation and transport of water in situ in PEM-type fuel cells; and (4) enhancement of the Ionizing Radiation Division’s accelerator facilities through the installation and commissioning of the high-energy computer tomography (HECT) facility
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 and the Clinac 2100C accelerator. The neutron imaging work provides critical information for the development of fuel cells and now is the basis of collaborations with major automobile manufacturers. The HECT facility will support important missions for DHS, and the Clinac 2100C will take the medical dosimetry research and standards program of the division to a new level. As a whole, the Optical Technology Division maintains a long-term, core commitment to high-accuracy measurements in radiometry, photometry, and spectroradiometry. The division has invested significant resources in these areas and justifiably places emphasis on maintaining the laboratory investments and careful measurement methodologies as tools for external customers in the private and government sectors. The division is commended for its continuing efforts to develop new approaches to calibration over a wide spectral range, from the far-infrared through the extreme ultraviolet. The activities of the Physics Laboratory in optical technology are diverse, reflecting the importance of optics and optical standards in many areas of science and technology. A significant fraction of the activities are associated with maintaining critical standards for the nation. Indeed, the Optical Technology Division has the institutional responsibility for maintaining two base International System (SI) units: the unit of temperature, the kelvin, above 1234.96 K and the unit of luminous intensity, the candela. The division also maintains the national scales for other optical radiation measurements and ensures their relationship to the SI units. These measurement responsibilities include derived photometric and radiometric units, the radiance temperature scale, spectral source and detector scales, and optical properties of materials such as reflectance and transmittance. A core activity of the Optical Technology Division is the development of technical standards for industries relying on optical technologies. The division also has targeted research programs to develop optical and spectroscopic tools for gathering information on processes in the wavelength ranges required to support evolving technologies in the semiconductor, biotechnology, health science, and other industries. The research also aims to address selected fundamental problems in physics, chemistry, and engineering science that underlie these applications and in which the division can have a particularly high impact. In view of the range of different activities in optical technology, the distinctiveness and relation to activities elsewhere must be examined using differing criteria. Within the area of optical standards, the activities within the Optical Technology Division are clearly distinctive within the United States. The facilities for maintaining standards that have been developed within the division simply do not exist elsewhere in the nation. Importantly, however, they are constantly affected by ongoing advances in optics in the broader technical community, such as the continuous improvements in tunable coherent optical sources. The natural technical point of comparison for the optical standards lies in the research carried out in national laboratories in Europe. The staff in the division are very well aware of comparable research and, indeed, engage in ongoing comparisons and cross-calibration. Many of the other activities in optical technology, while not involving specific international optical standards, rely on highly refined measurement capabilities. Here the uniqueness of the activities results from the choice of the problems addressed as well as from the distinctiveness of the measurement capabilities themselves. In reviewing the overall program, it is clear that the activities constitute forefront research, which of necessity implies both a distinctive research agenda and broad knowledge of external activities. As an example, one could cite the array of measurement capabilities for the farinfrared or terahertz spectral region. The Optical Technology Division has outstanding measurement capabilities for this spectral region based on traditional Fourier-transform infrared techniques. It has also developed over the past years forefront capabilities for measurements using coherent radiation, including both frequency-domain and time-domain approaches. These latter coherent techniques are evolving rapidly in the external research community. The new NIST activities have immediately incor-
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 porated relevant advances from the external research community and developed what is, to the knowledge of the review Board, the best suite of measurement capabilities available in any laboratory. Similar observations apply to the distinctiveness of the research projects within the division, and their positioning vis-à-vis the external research community. The standard of technical research in the Quantum Physics Division in collaboration with the University of Colorado is very high. Without exception, the research is very productive and explores the frontiers of the areas that are investigated. The overall technical quality of research in the Quantum Physics Division is very high, being almost uniformly outstanding. The association of the division with faculty of the University of Colorado through JILA (Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics) has resulted in a very collaborative and open environment, leading to a free exchange of ideas and a great deal of cross-fertilization between research groups. The technical standard of research in JILA is very high. JILA fellows (personnel of both NIST and the University of Colorado) are without exception exploring the frontiers of their fields and are very productive researchers. Their work has resulted in many awards, including the Nobel Prize in physics for the observation of Bose-Einstein condensation in cold neutral atoms. This work continues through the exploration of new fundamental measurements using ultracold atoms, including an experiment to set new upper limits on the dipole moment of the electron and a new sensitive measurement of Casimir-Polder forces related to quantum interactions between atoms and surfaces. Particularly noteworthy during the current assessment period is the work on Bose condensation of pairs of Fermi atoms. The correlated motion and condensation of these pairs have proven to be distinct from similar phenomena such as the formation of Cooper pairs in superconductors or from the usual diatomic molecule formation; they exist in a previously unknown region of physics. The laboratory’s work in this area is at the forefront of this rapidly moving area. Results related to the progress in the chip-scale atomic clock obtained this year are among the significant accomplishments in the Time and Frequency Division. NIST has done an outstanding job of publicizing the technology and progress made therein, and the division is currently recognized to be the leading laboratory developing this technology. The Physics Laboratory has played a leading role in the development of chip-scale atomic clock technology. This DARPA-funded effort now involves multiple industrial and academic teams whose goal is to design a miniature atomic clock that will put enhanced communication and navigation capabilities into the hands of the modern-day battlefield soldier. The significance of the potential applications of the chip-scale atomic clock in various commercial and Department of Defense applications verifies the relevance and importance of this accomplishment. The Physics Laboratory also recognizes that the development of high-performance clocks should not be limited to those with high stability and accuracy. Performance is defined by different criteria, based on the application; size and power, while unimportant in high-stability and high-accuracy clocks, are of paramount importance in many applications. Extension of this concept for support of future work could serve the laboratory quite well in fulfilling its mandated mission. NIST is a leader in the development and advancement of optical standards, an area in which there has been excellent progress. The Optical Frequency Measurements Group in the Time and Frequency Division carrying out this work also strives to strengthen and expand collaboration in this area with JILA, as well as with other laboratories and universities. Progress in the calcium standard and optical comb is impressive, as is progress toward the development of the ytterbium standard. The Ion Storage Group exemplifies investigations at the frontiers of knowledge in the science of precision frequency standards. It is acknowledged as a leader in trapped ion frequency standards and related standards for quantum computing. This group has developed and refined the techniques of
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 entangled states not only for hyperaccurate frequency standards but for quantum computing as well. The very promising work on aluminum/beryllium entangled state clocks not only has the potential to provide significant advancement in frequency accuracy (beyond the excellent accuracy shown for the trapped mercury ion), but also brings advances in fundamental understanding of physics. In the related area of quantum computing, NIST was recently the first to demonstrate error correction in a scalable system; NIST shares (with a laboratory in Innsbruck, Austria) the credit for the first quantum teleportation of information encoded in a massive particle (ion). This work is an excellent example of how the laboratory can transform its knowledge and technology to address emerging problems. Advances in the technology of quantum computing directly impact the ability of the United States to maintain national security through the protection of its defense information as well as by providing a capability to decrypt intelligence information from its adversaries. Opportunities and challenges in the Physics Laboratory include those discussed below. The diverse types of work done within the Atomic Physics Division, from cutting-edge science to the equally important but perhaps less prestigious compilation of spectral databases, demand that different metrics for success be used by management to evaluate the quality of the work performed by scientists with different assignments and expectations. The laboratory would do well to define equivalency metrics to recognize the contributions of each effort fairly. An ongoing challenge faced by the Atomic Physics Division as well as the other divisions is the retention of high-profile scientists who are recruited strongly by top universities with “deep pockets.” Maintaining the current collegial atmosphere and opportunities for new initiatives through programs such as the competence program as well as competitive compensation will be crucial in retaining the best scientists. The Board voices concern that a standardized electron paramagnetic resonance dosimetry technique for tooth enamel has not yet been established, in part because of differences in protocols among the three international laboratories involved in the study. One approach to solving the issues is to look at the transferability of one technique to another laboratory. Currently NIST is working with the Ukrainian Scientific Center of Nuclear Medicine to reconcile the Ukrainian protocols with those of NIST. The NIST microwave frequency standards developed in the Time and Frequency Division are directly compared with international standards such as those in the Bureau National des Poids et Mesures. At the present time, the NIST F1 fountain standard leads the world in terms of accuracy. Nonetheless, the division needs to prioritize its investments in the development of technologies and to communicate the relevance of such pursuits effectively. For example, a more customer-focused approach is needed for justifying the effort in developing several types of clock with the target of improving accuracy by order(s) of magnitude. The division will be well served by providing answers to such questions as why this is needed, what benefits it would produce, and why the various approaches and technologies must be pursued. After good answers to these questions are provided, rather than applying efforts to making better clocks, effort should be applied toward mandates identified in those answers, and toward better time and frequency comparison techniques so that better clocks in various laboratories could be compared. RELEVANCE In general, the relevance of the work in all divisions of the Physics Laboratory is high to very high. The research program in the Optical Technology Division reflects careful strategic planning to respond to NIST and national priorities. The positive results of this planning process can be seen in the
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 close alignment of the scope of the technical agenda with clear priorities in the optical standards area, as well as the development of programs responding to NIST Strategic Focus Areas. The existence of a vibrant and dynamic strategic planning process can be seen in the realignment of many of the activities in the Laser Applications Group. Whereas several years ago there was no work related to biological sciences or homeland security, vital programs are now in place (with extensive external collaborations) to address needs in these areas. Also, in a related vein, the frontier of optical spectroscopy of nano- and molecular-scale objects has been impressively extended. The issue of customer focus is particularly relevant within the standards area. In this respect, a special role is filled by the Council for Optical Radiation Measurements (CORM), which evaluates national needs in optical metrology and provides feedback on the services and standards supplied by the Optical Technology Division. CORM is a body originally instituted by NIST to provide guidance and prioritization on technical needs in industry and research. The laboratory’s colorimetry facility, for example, was developed in response to CORM recommendations. The effectiveness of the group could be improved by including representation and participation by the biomedical community. The impressive level of customer satisfaction with the division can be gauged by the high level of other-agency research support. A continued high level of such external support is the ultimate test of attention to the customer. The relevance of the work in the Time and Frequency Division is very high. This division has a variety of customers, including the lay public, the international standards community, and U.S. commerce, academia, and industry. A long-standing service that NIST provides to the American public is the dissemination of the accurate time of day to the “person on the street” via radio transmissions from the WWVB NIST radio station. Recent industry product developments in low-cost radio-controlled clocks and wristwatches have further extended the availability of this service. NIST is exploring augmenting this service with the addition of transmitters on the East Coast of the United States and in Hawaii. An Internet-based Network Time Protocol time service is similar in its ubiquity and usage by the American technical public. EFFECTIVENESS An extremely promising new Quantum Information Initiative spearheaded in the Physics Laboratory has generated $3 million that was distributed to seven coordinated projects spread among nine NIST divisions over three NIST laboratories. An additional $4 million is identified in the President’s FY 2006 budget (OMB, 2005). Receipt of this initiative reinforces the importance of basic-research-oriented activities for the evolution and development of NIST programs. The Optical Technology Division makes use of a variety of effective means for delivering the technical output of the division. For long-term research, the means are primarily the traditional methods of publication in the technical literature and presentations at conferences. For standards work, the division’s output takes the form of calibrations of customer detectors and artifacts and making available transfer standards. Several additional forms of disseminating the technical capabilities of the division have also been implemented. Notable among these are holding specialized courses and tutorials and making available specialized software. The latter has been implemented very effectively with respect to the analysis of optical scattering data. A flexible analysis program developed in the division has been very popular, with more than 1,000 downloads. The division evidently places a healthy emphasis on publicizing and disseminating much of its technical output. The Optical Technology Division has an excellent balance, meeting immediate needs while developing new long-term programs. This approach will keep the division at the technical forefront and
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 ensure significant long-term impact. The standards work has an impact through a widespread chain of technology, since calibration is essential for a wide spectrum of applications. Similarly, fundamental advances in the optical characterization of materials have broad impact beyond the immediate field of optical science. Particularly noteworthy is the long-term impact and timeliness of the outstanding fundamental work on optical materials characterization for deep-UV and EUV lithography work for the semiconductor industry, where ever-more-stringent demands are being placed on the materials. Over the years the Quantum Physics Division has produced a steady stream of outstanding technical accomplishments. The investigators and their management have been very effective in promoting these accomplishments, resulting in a number of prizes and awards, high-profile publications, and media publicity. The division has access to a pool of talented University of Colorado graduate students. Students in JILA receive an outstanding education in fundamental measurement science, and a large number of JILA Ph.D. graduates have gone on to employment within NIST. Thus, the Quantum Physics Division with JILA provides a stream of young talent for future needs of the standards and measurement laboratories. Opportunities and challenges in the Physics Laboratory are discussed below. An improved prioritization of effort and research approaches, examined against a clearly defined set of metrics, should be developed for time and frequency work. The relatively hands-off style of management toward these groups of activities fosters creativity, but it does not provide a focus toward goals that are well developed and well understood by all groups and group members. The work in the Time and Frequency Division must continue to be vital and unique to NIST and the nation without becoming a collection of high-quality university-style activities. To this end, there needs to be apparent a clear connection of the division’s work, now and in the future, to the stated goal “to provide the foundation of frequency measurements and civil timekeeping for our Nation” and the defined strategy “to advance measurement science and to provide time and frequency standards and measurement services to commerce, industry, and the public.” Each group in the division should have a clear answer as to how it fits into the scheme, together with a wall chart that clearly delineates its roles vis-à-vis division goals and strategy. There must be continuous assessment of the research work to determine where it is heading and what needs to be done at its conclusion. Prioritization of effort and research approaches needs to be performed and examined against a clearly defined set of metrics. All research interests and opportunities clearly cannot be supported simultaneously. Different approaches need to be compared and made to compete with one another. Continuing on the theme of clarity of purpose: parallel to the NIST Primary Time and Frequency Standards Chart showing Clock Uncertainty vs. Year for the standards NBS (National Bureau of Standards)-1 through NBS-6, NIST-7, NIST-F1, NIST-F2, and New Optical Standards, a series of charts and documentation for each standard should be generated, starting with NBS-1 and continuing through the New Optical Standards. This associated information should present the resulting research, applications, and quality-of-life improvements made possible by each particular standard. This is especially true for NIST-F1, the “ultimate Fountains,” and the New Optical Standards. RESOURCES The proposed Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland, sponsored jointly by NIST and the university, is a very promising approach to significantly expanding the resources, facilities, and personnel studying topics central to NIST’s current and future needs. There will, of course, be challenges in effectively merging the government and academic cultures. The highly successful, long-standing NIST–University of Colorado collaboration (JILA) can be a helpful reference. There are challenges in that
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 collaboration as well, however, and it is clear that a definition of the Quantum Institute will be required that is more elaborate than the definition of JILA created a half century ago. The Quantum Physics Division management has been very effective in retaining scientists who are at the top of their fields and are actively recruited by other universities and laboratories. It has done this by aggressively securing awards and NIST fellowships as well as high pay grades for its high-profile personnel. The past few years have seen increased cooperation between NIST and the University of Colorado in recruiting for open JILA fellow positions, within both NIST and university faculty. The Optical Technology Division similarly highlights NIST efforts to retain quality scientists by invoking an aggressive promotion of its staff through awards and by maintaining high visibility of their accomplishments. The Board also notes that significant resources are devoted in this division toward developing the needed equipment, tools, and facilities to support customer needs. To ensure the long-term financial health of the Physics Laboratory, the Board recommends vigilance in maintaining a good balance between outside and core funding as well as in the ratios of permanent staff to contract hires. While it may be attractive from a financial viewpoint to hire temporary staff, this practice could lead to the loss of critical scientific and technical expertise. High levels of outside funding tend to exacerbate this situation. There should be systematic and frequent examination of staff and funding source ratios to ensure long-term retention of the expertise sustaining the mission of NIST and to foster development of new technical areas. The financial health of the Ionizing Radiation Division is much better than it was in the previous assessment period. The operating budget increased by over a factor of two, and capital equipment funding is up over 30 percent. The budget increase is due almost entirely to funds received for Department of Homeland Security work. These funds have enabled the division to maintain infrastructure and perform maintenance and repair activities for equipment. Management expressed concern about the high dependence on DHS funding and about the fate of recently hired staff, should the funding be substantially cut in the future. The management was also concerned that the newly found DHS funding would result in a reduction of NIST-derived funding—that is, diversion of NIST funding from the division to some other Physics Laboratory location or to other laboratories within NIST. There is a pressing need for 5-year planning for resources with consideration of the ratios of other agencies (OA) to Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) funding. There is probably more work to be done in the Ionizing Radiation Division than there are people available, but there does not appear to be a critical problem in this area. One issue with regard to hiring is the difficulties associated with bringing in contractors or postdoctoral fellows. A clear process does not seem to have been implemented for doing this, and if postdoctoral researchers are brought in, even into the National Research Council program, their salaries are burdened with the full NIST overhead rate. Further, much of the work done by the Radiation Interactions and Dosimetry Group is considered to be mundane, and younger people are looking for more exciting fields to pursue. The two Titan Corporation electron linacs that will be used to support the work of the Ionizing Radiation Division have not been installed and commissioned. Problems exist with siting these accelerators, and a plan to bring them online has not been forthcoming. A concerted effort should be made by the Physics Laboratory to find space for these machines, and a plan for their installation and operation should be adopted in the short term. JILA appears to be very stressed for space. Graduate students have “offices” within laser laboratories, for example, which is a very undesirable situation. The ability to hire into existing and future vacancies could be affected by the lack of suitable laboratory and office space for new research groups. The current use of space should be systematically reviewed with a view to increasing the efficiency of
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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Years 2004 – 2005 space utilization; the results of this study should then be considered in developing a plan for possible future space expansion and construction. Issues with respect to the building facilities in the Time and Frequency Division should command attention at the highest levels of NIST. The building facilities of this division, despite recent improvements, continue to be sadly lacking in several areas. While the construction of the ion storage laboratories is a most welcome step, the overall laboratory facilities of the division are still below par compared with those of equivalent organizations elsewhere in the country or internationally. Given the environmental sensitivity of clocks and related experiments, the laboratory must be regarded as an integral part of the experimental apparatus. It is of little value to develop a clock with ultrahigh accuracy or stability when the environment cannot support this performance. The same is true for the measurement laboratory, which suffers from problems ranging from room-temperature instability to intrusive electromagnetic interference. JILA is at its core a cooperative effort between the University of Colorado and NIST, and the self-governance by JILA fellows embodied in its Memorandum of Agreement and by-laws has been extremely effective in providing a culture that fosters innovation and groundbreaking basic science. This structure has been successful; NIST and JILA are best served by its protection and nurture. There are instances (intellectual property [IP] and emphasis in hiring, for example) in which the interests and viewpoints of the university and NIST significantly diverge. This Board reviews only the NIST part of JILA. NIST would be well served by a review Board that receives input from the whole of JILA; it could thereby consider more fully the factors that influence the continuation of this very productive university–NIST cooperative effort. The JILA environment is a key factor in attracting and retaining high-quality scientists and thus in the continued eminence of JILA’s science and technology. Intellectual property continues to be an area in which the University of Colorado and NIST seem to have conflicting interests. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of clearly communicated guidelines for NIST personnel regarding IP policy. The requirement for NIST inventions to be made widely available to the public might be facilitated by open publication of many invention disclosures, for example, but no publication exists to serve this purpose. This issue needs to be addressed by NIST as well as within JILA. The area of biological physics is by no means confined to the Physics Laboratory or to the Quantum Physics Division. There are biological physics efforts across NIST in many other divisions—to the extent that some of the efforts are almost duplicated. Thus, there seems to be a lack of coordination of NIST-wide efforts in this area. The Quantum Physics Division scientists working on biological physics should meet regularly with other NIST biological physics scientists to coordinate efforts and ease isolation. Further, one can ask if there is a biological physics niche that is unique to NIST. NIST should identify biological problems that can be addressed with the technologies that NIST has developed.