research covered by the CNST; because of time constraints, it was not possible to review the CNST programs and projects exhaustively. The examples reviewed by the panel were selected by the CNST in consultation with the panel chair and NRC staff. The panel’s goal was to identify and report salient examples of accomplishments and opportunities for further improvement with respect to the following: the degree to which the CNST programs achieve their stated objectives and fulfill the CNST mission, the technical merit and scientific caliber of the CNST work, and the alignment between CNST R&D efforts and CNST services and other mission-critical deliverables. These examples are intended collectively to portray an overall impression of the laboratory, while preserving useful suggestions specific to projects and programs that the panel examined. The panel applied a largely qualitative rather than a quantitative approach to the assessment, although it is possible that future assessments will be informed by further consideration of various analytical methods that can be applied.
For its assessment, the panel relied primarily on presentations made by NIST and CNST managers and staff and by other researchers associated with NIST projects and programs, and on informational notes prepared by NIST and CNST staff for use by the panel. Posters by various researchers involved with CNST activities were also presented to the panel during its visit to the CNST. This report does not contain extensive citations of technical articles and reports. Other documents and resources used by the panel are cited in the report, as appropriate.
The comments in this report are not intended to address each program within the CNST exhaustively. Instead, this report identifies key issues. Given the necessarily non-exhaustive nature of the review process, the omission of any particular CNST program or project should not be interpreted as a negative reflection on the omitted program or project.
The preceding Summary highlights issues that apply broadly to several or all of the groups or to the center as a whole and presents the panel’s key recommendations for the CNST. Chapter 2 presents a more detailed overall assessment of the center against the three criteria established by the NIST Director. Chapters 3 and 4 present observations and suggestions specific to the groups in the CNST research program and to the NanoFab program, respectively. Chapter 5 presents the panel’s overall conclusions.