Chapter 4

Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory



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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Chapter 4 Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 PANEL MEMBERS John P. O'Connell, University of Virginia, Chair Douglas E. Leng, Dow Chemical Company, Vice Chair John L. Anderson, Carnegie Mellon University Joseph D. Andrade, University of Utah Anthony M. Dean, Exxon Research and Engineering Co. H. Frederick Dylla, Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility Steven M. George, University of Colorado Lou Ann Heimbrook, AT&T Bell Laboratories Lynn W. Jelinski, Cornell University Kenneth O. MacFadden, W.R. Grace & Co. David W.H. Roth, Jr., Allied-Signal, Inc. C. Thomas Sciance, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc. Robert E. Sievers, University of Colorado William B. Streett, Cornell University Isiah M. Warner, Louisiana State University Barry G. Willis, Hewlett-Packard Company James D. Winefordner, University of Florida Submitted for the panel by its Chair, John P. O'Connell, this assessment of the fiscal year 1994 activities of the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory is based on Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado, site visits, the panel meeting on February 1-2, 1994, and the 1993 annual report of the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 LABORATORY OVERVIEW Mission The mission of the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (CSTL) is to provide measurements, reference materials, data and scientific research for the chemical, energy, health care, biotechnology, electronics, and materials processing industries to improve reliability and quality control; increase the rate of innovation and commercialization; allow for the design and control of competitive and energy-efficient manufacturing facilities; enhance health, safety, and environmental quality; and aid competitiveness in the marketplace. Specific laboratory goals toward achievement of that mission, as presented to the panel, include establishing CSTL as the pinnacle of the traceability structure for chemical and biochemical science and engineering measurements, enabling U.S. industry to access the most accurate and reliable chemical and biochemical science and engineering data, anticipating and addressing the next generation of measurement technology needs of the nation, and fostering the development and implementation of generic technologies for advanced chemical and biochemical processes. Strategy CSTL's strategy for accomplishing its mission, as presented to the panel by the laboratory director, is multifaceted. Technical programs are to be focused on areas of greatest possible CSTL impact and a critical mass of effort created in these areas by the balancing of NIST base funding (Scientific and Technical Research and Services, or STRS) and external (other agency, or OA) funding sources through proposed budget initiatives that would increase STRS relative to OA funds and foster synergistic interdivisional efforts. A world-class technical staff is to be maintained and a challenging research environment preserved through enhanced recognition of staff, a novel graduate fellowship program, and a total quality management initiative. Research facilities are to remain at the cutting edge through facility upgrades and increased spending for laboratory equipment. Further strategies will be developed to obtain the best possible matches between CSTL 's divisional activities and strengths with the specific goals of CSTL's divisions. Resources CSTL is divided into seven divisions: Biotechnology, Chemical Kinetics and Thermodynamics, Inorganic Analytical Research, Organic Analytical Research, Process Measurements, Surface and Microanalysis Science, and Thermophysics. These divisions each average just over 35 permanent professional staff and more than 25 visiting and temporary professional workers; the laboratory as a whole has more than 35 students. Funding is principally from NIST (STRS base funding, 42 percent) and other (federal) agencies (OA support, 29 percent); small amounts (15 percent) also arise from standard reference materials (SRMs) and standard reference data (SRD) programs, and calibration and other reimbursable services, as well as from allocations associated with other NIST programs (14 percent). For fiscal year 1993, CSTL's total budget was $44.9 million, of which $25.5 million was from STRS, $13.3 million

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 from OA, and $6.1 million from other sources. Final fiscal year 1994 figures were not yet available at the time of the assessment. As is the case elsewhere in NIST, a long period of flat budgets has caused CSTL difficulty in maintaining cutting-edge equipment, hiring and retaining the best possible personnel, and addressing all of the new and challenging problems of current technology. Although CSTL was successful in obtaining funds for several competence-building projects and other short-term initiatives that provided some opportunities, constraints on flexibility and limitations on further advances occurred when such funding ended. Now, however, these effects appear to have been diminished through special funding arrangements. Assessment of Strategy The panel agrees that the mission and strategies of CSTL are appropriate in content and outlook. The goals are appropriately ambitious in light of CSTL's desire to lead the way in the areas of chemical and biochemical science and technology, which within NIST are disciplines unique to CSTL. As described below, the divisions have established specific areas to pursue and have made excellent progress toward them. There continues to be a healthy evolution in both the activities used to formulate the strategic plan and the articulation of the results of the CSTL's strategic planning process, and this evolution should continue. CSTL's exercise of filling in a matrix of current goals versus divisions is an excellent way to foster connections among the staff for formulating and executing projects. Contributions of the laboratory professionals have been sought in the process; this effort needs to be continued to ensure useful and valid input. For CSTL to obtain the maximum value from the matrix exercise, its staff must believe fully that the effort is serious and will lead to a strategic plan; the panel cautions that the way the information is solicited, communicated, and discussed has a significant impact on its credibility with staff members. Milestones need to be expressed and evaluated in the planning process, bench marks of costs and efficiency need to be made by comparisons with other organizations, and assessments should be made of achievements under earlier plans. This matrix exercise provides the information but not the rationale for decisions about resource allocation. During NIST's transition and expansion, it will be crucial for CSTL to establish a basis on which management and staff choose priorities and set guidelines in seeking funds. This is particularly important for new and continuing OA support and its distribution within CSTL, since OA funding has long been important and is expected to decrease as a proportion of total funding. The laboratory obtains information and insights for its priority setting from industry and other customers via workshops, meetings, and other interactions. This effort must be ongoing and even more aggressive and innovative. As vital as such activity is, however, it must not so consume the attention of the management and staff that it distracts from their productivity. Much of both the research and reference and calibration work ongoing in CSTL already responds to its revised mission and goals or is progressing toward them. Achieving stature and accomplishment in new industrial technologies will require considerable time, because CSTL must develop experience, resources for diversifying skills and reorienting facilities, and additional

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 programs to increase interactions with colleagues in industry. It is especially important for CSTL to choose carefully for action those critical technologies that the laboratory can most effectively address. The complexity of modern chemical and biochemical technology and the current uncertainties in the economy and in global competition make it difficult for any organization to choose its investments wisely and to anticipate optimal development thrusts. NIST should use its strengths—that is, strong, quality research and standards programs—to expand its support of industry to span the entire product life cycle, from research and development through production and product disposal. The impact of the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) on CSTL is still unclear. ATP may provide opportunities for productive industrial interactions and additional resources that can facilitate the laboratory 's contribution to national competitiveness. However, if the laboratory staff's work with ATP is merely task-oriented and burdensome, the staff's potential contribution to the program will not be realized. Attention should be paid to this issue at all levels within NIST. NIST management has made the key decision not to have immediate increases in permanent personnel accompany any increases in its budget but to use the increased NIST funds to reduce the laboratories' dependence on OA resources. The panel agrees that this is prudent because NIST thus retains flexibility to meet changing needs and avoids any overcommitment to long-term personnel. However, increasing temporary personnel over long periods may preclude hiring the most qualified staff and would exclude obtaining expertise in advanced technological areas. It is essential that NIST hiring policy be consistent with the CSTL mission and that its impact on the recruitment of candidates be considered. CSTL's organization has stabilized following recent structural changes. This stability, combined with the possibilities for increased opportunity for CSTL because of NIST's expanding role in U.S. science and technology as per the 1988 Omnibus Trade Act, has generally improved staff morale, which had waned in the uncertain atmosphere of reorganization, and has improved staff performance. The panel agrees with CSTL's intention to reduce its OA funding, provided CSTL deals sensitively with the uneven distribution of OA funding among its divisions. It is important that CSTL find the optimum level of OA funding to minimize its vulnerability to decisions, resources, and objectives that are outside its control. Nevertheless, the laboratory must retain options for resource allocation, maintain external connections, remain aware of issues important to colleagues outside NIST, and enhance the quality of federal technical work. It is important that CSTL not “burn its bridges” to other federal agencies as it decreases its reliance on OA funding. Major efforts must be made to minimize the barriers and distractions that NIST bureaucracy presents to the technical staff. CSTL should make a serious effort to gather input from the staff about these impediments as part of an ongoing feedback process. A few obvious improvements should be made, such as minimizing required approvals and maximizing options for purchasing supplies and services. These improvements should then be fed back into the ongoing feedback loop. This process can have significant impact on productivity and attitudes in the face of the inevitable red tape resulting from NIST's growth. Finally, the panel finds that more complete orientation and mentoring of new staff is desirable. This would be the initial component of the feedback loop mentioned above.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Assessment of Technical Programs The panel remains enthusiastic about the development, accomplishments, and quality of CSTL's programs. In general, the panel finds the divisions ' work to be of high quality and appropriate to the NIST and CSTL missions. CSTL's recently proposed initiatives (in advanced manufacturing, biotechnology, environmental technology, advanced materials, and information infrastructure) are appropriate for the laboratory and should yield positive results as long as they remain connected to the laboratory's strengths. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for CSTL as a whole. The Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory should continue its emphasis on the strategic planning process. The process must include meaningful involvement and full commitment of the staff, use of established planning techniques, and gathering of information on emerging national directions and needs in critical technologies corresponding to laboratory strengths. The process should allow initiation of new programs and termination when necessary of obsolete activities or activities not unique to CSTL. Benchmarking of costs and program progress, as well as expanded analyses of how CSTL programs compare with nationally and internationally based work, must be regularly performed. CSTL must give continuing attention to personnel planning to meet most effectively the needs of ongoing program thrusts. The ratio of temporary to permanent staff, the balance between fundamental and applied researchers, and the relative value of various staff skills available are all factors to be considered. As part of an ongoing feedback process, a serious effort should be made to gather input from the staff about impediments from the inevitable red tape resulting from NIST's growth. This process of soliciting feedback can have a significant positive impact on productivity and attitudes. The following are the panel's major recommendations for CSTL divisions; more detailed discussions and recommendations are found in the divisional assessments below. Biotechnology Division. The division should initiate programs in biomaterials and bioremediation. Important new products in these areas and alternative waste treatment will need both the research advances and standards that NIST is uniquely qualified to provide. Chemical Kinetics and Thermodynamics Division. The division should strategically coordinate its comprehensive and important initiatives in computational chemistry. Its highly valuable data center work should be expanded to include more evaluation effort. Assessments of future industrial needs and opportunities should be intensified.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Inorganic Analytical Research Division. The division needs new research on plasmas used in analysis, more emphasis on molecular spectroscopy, and a rejuvenation of its programs in lasers and electroanalytical chemistry. More external interactions and connections to the CSTL thrust areas are required. Organic Analytical Research Division. The division should establish competency in analytical and separation methods involving supercritical fluids. The division's aging magnetic sector mass spectrometer should be replaced. Process Measurements Division. The division should develop a program leading to replacement of mechanical measurement devices by electronic or optical standards in U.S. industry and augment it with capabilities in all measurement areas to make CSTL a major international leader in measurement technology. CSTL should focus on establishing its leadership in flow measurements, especially through enhancement of its Boulder, Colorado, resources. NIST's thermometry programs should be consolidated. Surface and Microanalysis Science Division. The division should take initiatives in semiconductor processing and nanostructure materials and scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopies. SRMs should be developed for International Organization for Standardization 9000 series guidelines (ISO 9000) for materials testing. Thermophysics Division. The division needs to develop a more complete strategic plan. Innovative efforts should be made to increase university relations and establish advanced modeling of mixture property behavior. CSTL Responses to Fiscal Year 1993 Recommendations The panel is generally satisfied with the actions taken and explanations provided by CSTL about concerns and recommendations in its fiscal year 1993 assessment, as discussed below. Given below are some of the panel's comments and recommendations for CSTL as a whole (quoted from the fiscal year 1993 assessment), with CSTL's responses. “CSTL's limitation on the implementation strategies will come more from a lack of buyin by research personnel than from a lack of concepts or goals. . . .” (p. 89). The strategic planning activities have gone forward and efforts have been made to obtain staff involvement and commitment. These need to continue. “The Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory must attempt to ensure that funding mechanisms have appropriate phase-in and phase-out funding formulas” (p. 90). New time frames for programs and increased STRS funding should prevent temporary funding lapses for ongoing programs. “CSTL's mix of base and reimbursable funds is appropriate but is not uniform across CSTL divisions and groups, causing financial stress in some organizational entities. . . .” (p. 89). CSTL has evaluated its funding sources to prevent excessive reliance on OA funds and to prevent funding of mission-oriented work exclusively or almost exclusively by OA funds, in an attempt to

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 maintain control of its programs and avoid termination of important programs by changes in OA sponsors' budgets. The panel finds that some programs and divisions (see divisional assessments below) are still overreliant on OA funding sources and that the staff seems uncertain about current CSTL policy regarding pursuit of OA funding. Some of the panel's fiscal year 1993 recommendations were not adopted. CSTL did not implement the panel's 1993 recommendations to evaluate CSTL charges for service via benchmarking against other suppliers. Several recommendations for new projects, activities, and equipment were also not implemented. This response was partly a result of a lack of available resources, especially personnel, and partly because of the priority assigned these issues relative to other concerns of CSTL management. The most important of these fiscal year 1993 suggestions are reiterated in this fiscal year 1994 report to increase the likelihood of their adoption during the coming year. Important changes mentioned specifically in the panel's 1993 recommendations have been made in levels and mechanisms of support and in activities of divisions. These are discussed below. DIVISIONAL ASSESSMENTS Biotechnology Division Mission The mission of the Biotechnology Division, as stated to the panel by its leadership, is to provide SRMs, data, measurements, methods, predictive models, and generic technologies as a foundation for the development and enhancement of biotechnology research, development, and commercialization and to provide advisory and research services to other agencies, industry, and the national and international scientific and engineering community. Strategy The Biotechnology Division's current strategy is to distribute its tasks across four groups: the Biochemical Measurements Group, the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB, a joint project with the University of Maryland and Montgomery County, Maryland), the Biophysical Measurements Group, and the Biosensor Technology Group. Current thrust areas that have been defined include DNA technologies (focused in the Biochemical Measurements Group), bioprocessing (focused in the Biophysical Measurements Group), structural biology and bioinformatics (focused in CARB and including enhanced computational facilities), and Biomolecular Electronics (focused in the Biosensor Technology Group). New thrust areas being initiated include biomaterials, bioremediation, and bioinformatics. An expansion of CARB is also being initiated, including joint magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) facilities.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Resources For fiscal year 1993, the Biotechnology Division had a total budget of $6.3 million, of which $4.9 million was from STRS, $0.9 million from OA, and $0.5 million from other sources. The division has a staff of 29 permanent professionals and 30 temporary professionals and guest researchers. The physical separation of CARB's facilities from the NIST campus causes some problems in interaction. The CARB facility also has space problems. Some areas have adequate space and equipment, but advancing technology demands upgrades in MRS, high-speed parallel computers, and experimental equipment for bioengineering separation, sequencing, and analysis. Expansion of the CARB facilities is under way. Assessment of Strategy The panel finds the current organization and definition of thrust areas appropriate and responsive to the needs and expectations of industry. The recent and new thrust areas are quite appropriate for the division, and significant impact can be made in those areas if adequate resources are available. Biotechnology is an emerging, dynamic, and changing discipline; the mission and strategy for this division must be flexible and regularly revisited and modified. Benchmarking is necessary to assess the effectiveness and quality of the division 's strategies and programs. Assessment of Technical Programs The leadership of the Biotechnology Division has done a superb job in coalescing its programs and developing a new division that is well positioned to meet the needs and expectations of the biotechnology community. The Biochemical Measurements Group is doing an excellent job in the development of measurements and standards for the rapidly growing field of DNA analysis and profiling. Proactive programs in this group are meeting important and critical needs in diagnosis, forensics, and related areas. CARB provides an outstanding model of a well-conceived collaboration between a national laboratory and academia. Its programs are well focused and placed in key areas of contemporary structural biology. This collaboration with the University of Maryland and Montgomery County, Maryland, is enabling NIST to develop a world-class effort in this area critical for health and bioproduct initiatives. In the Biophysical Measurements Group, a highly recognized senior group leader has been recruited. He brings a vision of enhanced cohesion and focus for the group's activities in several key biotechnology areas such as separations and bioremediation. The group and its new leader expect to produce a focused mission and an implementation strategy in bioprocess design and optimization. Several preliminary projects in novel areas have been proposed in the Biosensor Technology Group, but the group's mission and focus remain insufficiently defined. The Consortium on Advanced Biosensors has achieved a critical mass of participating companies and

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 has chosen the focus area of nonspecific binding. This initiative is commendable and will help to define the group's mission and focus its activities. The group is progressing in its work on molecular electronics and molecular devices. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for the Biotechnology Division. There must be full support for the Biotechnology Division's continuing efforts to develop and expand biotechnology research within NIST. Given the great national need for knowledge and standards that NIST-based activities in biotechnology can provide, the increase in division staff must exceed 10 percent. Management should explore creative ways to develop a flexible human resource base that is commensurate with national needs and expectations. Growth of the division will require laboratory management to aggressively seek more space for its activities. Several facilities are in need of upgrades. Existing MRS facilities need upgrades, including acquisition of an additional spectrometer. The division must ensure that equitable access is provided to these facilities to assure they are used to their full capacity. Enhanced computational facilities are also needed, including highly parallel architecture. Such facilities must be coordinated with other laboratory programs involving large-scale computation. Other division needs include modern separation, sequencing, and analytical equipment and equipment for the proposed bioprocess engineering thrust. The laboratory should clarify its long-term funding plan for the division. For fiscal year 1994, a biomanufacturing initiative is in place. Proposed fiscal year 1995 initiatives include protein engineering and bioprocess design and manufacturing. Fiscal year 1996 funding seems unclear at the laboratory level and must be delineated. The proposed fiscal year 1996 priorities of bioremediation and biomaterials are of importance to the nation, as is biotechnology quality assurance. The proposed fiscal year 1996 health care technology initiative must include a strong biotechnology component, since biotechnology-based methods and techniques are critical to improving the quality and decreasing the costs of health care. Several other CSTL programs have a heavy biotechnology component, particularly the Organic Analytical Research Division. CSTL should continue its efforts to enhance effective communication and interaction among all NIST biotechnology activities. It is essential for NIST to develop expertise in the area of biomaterials, that is, substances produced by the tools of genetic engineering (either in microorganisms or in plants). These substances will become a viable source of high-performance specialty materials that are biodegradable and renewable (i.e., non-fossil based). The division chief's activities on the National Science and Technology Council and on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bioengineering Committee, together with workshops and conferences, provide the

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 background and experience for such a program. A biomaterials program should include an active collaboration with the Material Science and Engineering Laboratory. Research in bioremediation should be planned and implemented. The new group leader of the Biophysical Measurements Group has strong interests and expertise in this field. A bioremediation program should be planned and developed in collaboration with other appropriate federal agencies such as the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The division and the laboratory should consider the international community in their assessments of needs and opportunities. Self-assessment should include comparisons with comparable groups and activities in other advanced nations. The Biochemical Measurements Group will require significant increases in space, equipment, and personnel to meet the increasing expectations of the biotechnology community for advanced methods, data, standards, and models. Additional space will be required to accommodate expansion of the programs at CARB. Improved communications and interactions between researchers at the NIST campus and at CARB must be developed. Journal clubs, seminars, and inexpensive video teleconferencing might enhance communications and make collaborations more seamless. Staff, space, and equipment commitments will be required to support the new leader of the Biophysical Measurements Group and to meet its revised mission and direction. It is essential that the planning, execution, and dissemination of the results of the Biosensor Technology Group's Advanced Biosensors project be tightly managed so that the project's high expectations are met. In particular, priority setting must ensure that the work is at the cutting edge of this technology and does not repeat that of other institutions. In addition, members of the Biosensor Technology Group should increase their communication and collaboration with their NIST colleagues to enhance their fundamental understanding of surfaces, which is critical for the development of a meaningful program in biosensors and biomolecular electronics. Chemical Kinetics and Thermodynamics Division Mission The Chemical Kinetics and Thermodynamics Division provides standardized data to industry, government, and academia in the areas of energy, environment, microelectronics fabrication, advanced materials, and chemical process technology via measurement and tabulation leading principally to modern, computerized databases of important physical and chemical properties.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Resources The Process Measurement Division's total fiscal year 1993 budget was $7.8 million, of which $4.2 million was from STRS, $2.2 million from OA, and $1.4 million from other sources. The division has 38 permanent professional staff and 29 temporary and guest workers. Groups are located in both Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado. Split responsibilities tie the capabilities at Boulder to the groups in Gaithersburg, but the level of activity and on-site management in Boulder is not as great as is needed. In general, the equipment, facilities, and staff are adequate for the mission. Assessment of Strategy The Process Measurement Division's work is at the core of NIST's responsibility to support the conduct of commerce in the United States. To compete in today's global markets, U.S. industry needs state-of-the-art certification capability and compatibility with all international quality standards. The panel members compliment NIST for its efforts to determine how it can best address the needs of industry. Personal contacts, workshops, and technical exchanges are beginning to identify new directions for research. Additional use of workshops to identify current and future critical needs, and to determine relative priority of these needs, is highly encouraged. As an example, if techniques to accurately measure very low levels of flow are being developed to meet the needs of the electronics industry, it would be appropriate to have an analysis by Sematech or a similar group showing the relative importance of such techniques. Work on spray combustion is another example of a program that could benefit from industrial examination. In general, traditional measurements of fundamental process variables for standardization purposes rely on extremely precise mechanical devices that are expensive to build and maintain and whose operation requires highly trained personnel. The panel believes that the division should develop a strategy to gradually replace as many of these mechanical devices as possible with devices relying on electronic or optical standards, which are expected to be faster, cheaper, and easier to implement than the more traditional ones. The obsolescence of the division's 30-year-old flow measurement facilities diminishes its ability to provide timely and cost-effective certification of U.S. instrument companies in foreign markets. Development of additional modeling and computational tools and techniques should continue so that industry can apply fundamental data and insights more readily. Inclusion of the concerns of the process industry in the federal Advanced Manufacturing Technology initiative gives CSTL and the division a special opportunity; CSTL has the unique capability to work in partnership with the chemical and petroleum processing industries, whose needs are different from those of industries concerned with artifact manufacture. CSTL's management is quite good and compares favorably with leadership in any industrial research and development laboratory. Assessment of Technical Programs The accomplishments of the Process Measurements Division are impressive, and its important international benchmarking work should be expanded.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 The round-robins in air speed and flow measurement convened by the Fluid Flow Group are applauded by the panel. The variety of the group 's cooperative studies for improving flow measurement and calibration is also commended. The High-Temperature Processes Group's focus on a spray combustion program to characterize the relationships between feed, spray characteristics, temperature, flow, the combustion process, and ultimately emissions is vital to optimizing burner performance while minimizing hazardous emissions. Studies of single drop behavior have been instructive but need to be related to process behavior. In addition to studies of fundamental relationships and data, industry needs mathematical models relating those relationships and data to performance and emissions. The Reacting Flows Group's work on the flame synthesis of nanocomposites, its interlaboratory collaborations on radio frequency plasma etching, and its investigations of subcritical and supercritical water-heat transfer and processing are exciting. The group's research on fire suppression by halon agents is useful. The group is well managed and has good resources, and its efforts are expanding nicely. The group's greatest challenge is to expand beyond the limitations of one group so that CSTL can exploit the potential of the technologies here. The work of the Process Sensing Group is impressive, especially its study of self-assembled monolayers and protein binding. Although the technology presents many challenges, the group's programs are well managed and have good resources. Its program in gas sensors was enhanced by the September 1993 workshop “Gas Sensors: Strategies for Future Technologies.” Such workshops are an important element of benchmarking and formulation of strategy and programs. Improvement in its measurement and control of humidity and extension of the range of these measurements are good examples of the unique role NIST can play in aiding the development of commercially relevant measurement standards. The Thermometry Group's extensive efforts in international intercomparisons in temperature are very important. The group continues to demonstrate world leadership in the vital area of temperature measurement and calibration. The Fluid Systems Group's work on forced convection heat transfer with hydrogen is impressive. It would be appropriate to investigate the effects of geometry and orientation in this process. The pulsed-tube refrigeration project in Boulder is an outstanding example of the development and application of process technology to a commercial need. This project exploits unique NIST capabilities and has commercial significance. However, the low utilization of the liquid nitrogen flow meter and the apparent low priority of the vortex shedding flow meter project sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are of concern. The panel applauds efforts to find new applications for this facility. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for the Process Measurements Division. The Boulder facilities of the Process Measurements Division have fallen below critical mass in personnel and activities. In addition to greater efforts to integrate the two NIST facilities, the division should increase partnering between NIST Boulder and other western laboratories

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. Boulder's cryogenics capability is a special strength that should be enhanced. NIST's efforts in temperature measurement should be consolidated in the division's Thermometry Group, including the high-temperature measurements currently being done in another laboratory. The current separation of staff and equipment not only is inefficient but probably also hinders the expansion of new temperature measurement technology. Furthermore, planning should begin now for the next temperature scale and the resources needed to develop its technology. NIST capabilities in each of the fundamental measurement areas of temperature, fluid flow, pressure, and humidity should be benchmarked against the capabilities of leading international laboratories and a strategy adopted (or maintained) to keep them among the world' s best. Process measurement capability is at the heart of NIST's purpose and should not be compromised as NIST adapts to meet other national needs. The division's calibration capability should cover an expanded range of gases. The division should consider additional fundamental work in computational fluid dynamics and the development of replacements for older mechanical methods of standard measurements by a new generation of measurements based on fundamental electronic measurements that utilize recent developments in electronics and miniaturization. The division should verify the industrial relevance of programs ostensibly aimed at industry needs by inviting evaluation from industry umbrella organizations or workshops. To facilitate the determination of appropriate charges for calibration and standards services and SRMs, the panel recommends benchmarking other sources for quality and cost. Relevant issues include charges relative to those of competing outside laboratories and recovery of the costs incurred to make these services world quality (such as costs for the renewal of facilities). The division should benchmark first to identify the differences, if any, and then decide where its services should be positioned with respect to charges. Surface and Microanalysis Science Division Mission The mission of the Surface and Microanalysis Science Division is to perform leading-edge scientific research; develop data analysis procedures; design reference materials and standards; and develop measurement instrumentation in the areas of atmospheric chemistry, microanalysis, surface dynamical processes, and surface spectroscopies to aid the competitiveness of the chemical, energy, environment, health care, biotechnology, and semiconductor industries.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Strategy The Surface and Microanalysis Science Division uses group-oriented programs focused on approaches to the design, accurate control, and evaluation of chemical measurements and processes in a wide variety of areas. The division's four groups—Atmospheric Chemistry, Microanalysis, Surface Dynamical Processes, and Surface Spectroscopies and Thin Films—have highly focused research areas. Thrust areas include analytical equipment development, standards development to improve the precision and accuracy of chemicals and materials measurement, experimental and theoretical data acquisition on surface and interface chemical processes, and validation of current surface spectroscopy techniques for chemical systems. The division's four groups are moving toward greater industrial impact by refocusing staff and changing projects to increase their relevance to industry, academia, and other government agencies. Resources The Surface and Microanalysis Science Division's total fiscal year 1993 budget was $6.6 million, of which $3.5 million was from STRS, $2.5 million from OA, and $0.6 million from other sources. The division has 35 permanent professionals, 15 nonpermanent researchers, and 8 students. The personnel, degree of scientific activity, and available instrumentation in the division are similar in quality to those at national laboratories such as Sandia, Los Alamos, and Livermore. Although much of the division's equipment is state of the art, some important necessary acquisitions are described below. Also, the Surface Dynamical Processes Group depends heavily on Physics Laboratory equipment. Changes in facilities that would make this equipment less accessible would significantly impede this group's work. Assessment of Strategy The Surface and Microanalysis Science Division's groups show considerable variation in productivity, focus, and connection to CSTL's mission. Efforts in organizing and focusing personnel should continue to bring the groups up to consistent standards. NIST's mission to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. industry calls for some major changes in the division. The division's strategic plan needs to be revised and more fully implemented. The panel has some concerns about personnel policy. Essentially all of the recent permanent hires have been drawn from postdoctoral associates, not from outside NIST. Although this hiring practice can focus staff interests and expertise into particular disciplines and can build spirit and cohesiveness in the staff, important skills outside the current staff's expertise are often sacrificed. Given NIST's anticipated directions and increased funding, hiring from outside must be considered for bench-level and leadership positions to establish NIST expertise in new technologies.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Assessment of Technical Programs Overall, the panel finds the Surface and Microanalysis Science Division 's output as measured by publications, talks and seminars, involvement in SRMs, conferences, workshops, and committee work to be very good. Research efforts in the division range from exceptional to mundane. The average level of the division's work is competitive with that of the other national laboratories. The Atmospheric Chemistry Group maintains a good balance between fundamental and highly focused research directly applicable to industries and other government agencies. The group continues to supply excellent radioactive carbon measurements for definitive source quantification of pollutants. It has supplied industrial and federal calibration services for ozone photometry and, on request, has even constructed specialized instrumentation for such important environmental measurements. The group continues to investigate the total quality measurement concept and the use of standard test data for quality and process optimization in industrial technology. It has valuable joint projects with scientists outside NIST, such as a collaboration with the Woods Hole Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility. Studies such as the group's work on sources of urban atmospheric contaminants will help establish standards for both the level and distribution of carbon in urban areas and will facilitate the formulation of effective clean air policy. The work of the Microanalysis Group is well matched to NIST's new directions. The group has a well-established scientific reputation for significant contributions to numerous practical and applied problems relevant to industry. The group has an excellent mix of scientific expertise in physics, chemistry, materials science, and analytical chemistry. It continues to develop and apply leading-edge microprobe analysis techniques to fundamental and applied characterization problems. True state-of-the-art methods in mapping and profiling with ions and electrons have been developed. The group's ability for molecular mapping with SIMS is particularly impressive; application of these techniques to practical problems are first rate, and important standards for characterization of materials using SIMS are being established. The group is widely recognized for its ability to characterize materials chemically, morphologically, and crystallographically. Though the group is large, great synergy has arisen between the microscopy-oriented work and the surface analysis studies because of excellent leadership and the high motivation and team spirit of the staff. The Surface Dynamical Processes Group continues to make significant advances in developing probes based on vibrational and electronic spectroscopies for the characterization of atomic and molecular processes at surfaces and interfaces. Its recent work on energy coupling between electron-hole pairs, surface phonons, and vibrational modes of CO and Cu(100) is leading the field. The group's laser photochemistry effort continues to supply excellent fundamental information on systems of interest to both academia and industry. However, the choice of systems for future study will need to be made carefully to ensure relevance to industrial work. The group's planned CoSi2/Si interfacial studies should show interesting results using sum-frequency techniques. The group should continue to pursue, with industrial partners, both this technology and nonlinear techniques for applications to other materials. The group's plan to develop and apply nondestructive probes to buried interfaces is appropriate. The characterization of these interfaces is of critical importance in semiconductor device manufacturing, and this effort should be of great interest to several industries.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 The Surface Spectroscopies and Thin Films Group needs to address continuing issues. Although most group members perform extremely interesting scientific work, general attitudes and objectives, probably arising from the group's origins, impede their progress. This group addresses needs of paramount importance to modern technology, since almost every aspect of materials science has a surface science or interface perspective. The group has excellent facilities, such as the new Magnetic Engineering Research Facility with instrumentation capabilities for the characterization of multilayer magnetic films. These resources, however, need to be used for collaborations within and outside of NIST to ensure that they are utilized to their fullest potential and in ways relevant to industrial needs. For example, grazing incident x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) should prove useful to analysis of oxides formed on surfaces, and general data analysis work in the fields of Auger electron spectroscopy and XPS could provide valuable predictive equations of both academic and industrial interest for more accurate surface analysis. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for the Surface and Microanalysis Science Division. The Surface and Microanalysis Science Division should implement hiring policies that will bring in personnel with expertise matched to the missions of CSTL and NIST. The division should take considerable care to choose technologically relevant systems for investigation. The panel reiterates its fiscal year 1993 recommendation that the division use its scientific expertise to develop a strong focus on semiconductor processing and nanostructure materials. This will require expertise in technologies outside of the current personnel's capabilities. It will mean that the division must reevaluate projects and shift staff to new projects in this area as appropriate. The semiconductor research initiated in the Surface Spectroscopies and Thin Films Group, for example, is a move toward greater relevance to NIST's new focus, but the personnel involved may not have the most appropriate skills to direct such an initiative. The panel strongly recommends that the division develop a program in the area of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). STM and AFM are highly analytical instrumental techniques compatible with NIST's measurement background, and STM and AFM will be vital for any nanostructured materials initiative. This effort should also aid in establishing standards for measurements using this rapidly developing technology. Funding and space should be allocated to update current equipment and buy new equipment, such as that for scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and XPS and perhaps a free-electron Auger electron spectrometer, as well as new measurement and standards equipment for atmospheric chemistry measurements.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 The division should develop SRMs for industrial analytical equipment calibration and materials testing under the guidelines of ISO 9000 quality requirements. Thermophysics Division Mission The mission of the Thermophysics Division is to establish new knowledge via data measurement, standards development, and equipment and materials for calibrations work on thermodynamic and transport properties of pure and mixed systems, especially fluids, for the benefit of industry and governmental agencies. Strategy The Thermophysics Division has organized its activities into five groups: Process Separations, Properties of Fluids, Fluid Science, Pressure, and Vacuum. Thrust areas include supercritical fluid technologies; contaminants in natural gas; electrochemical catalysis and separations; measurement, correlation, tabulation, and database distribution of the properties of natural gas and its constituents, alternative refrigerants, corrosive substances, and pure and mixed fluids over wide ranges of temperature and pressures; acoustical and other novel techniques for high-precision thermophysical property measurement; and measurement and calibration techniques for total and partial pressures at elevated pressures and over the entire range of relevant vacuum conditions. Resources The Thermophysics Division's total fiscal year 1993 budget was $7.9 million, of which $4.4 million was from STRS, $3.0 million from OA, and $0.5 million from other sources. The division has a professional staff of 37 permanent and 40 nonpermanent workers. Its laboratory facilities and instrumentation for research and standards and calibrations work are excellent. Shop resources exist for fabricating specially designed apparatus for fluid-systems experiments and calibrations. The division of the staff between the Gaithersburg and Boulder campuses provides challenges in communication, collaboration, and management. A single individual holds the positions of assistant director of the CSTL Boulder site, deputy chief of the Thermophysics Division in Boulder, and group leader of the Properties of Fluids Group. This administrative burden is tremendous but provides effective connections for the division. Several structural changes in which individuals have been moved to other groups or terminated and organizational entities eliminated, particularly at Boulder, have been made in recent years; more are needed to deal with the geographical split and evolving mission of the division.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 Assessment of Strategy The management and leadership of the Thermophysics Division are strong. The division is diligently examining its mission, goals, and strategies in light of the NIST mission and CSTL's specific goals. The division has achieved a very good balance between research and providing state-of-the-art standards and calibrations. There is mutual respect between the professional staff involved in basic research and the staff involved in calibrations. Wise allocation of resources has facilitated this; such policies and practices must continue. The division is considering the coordination of its efforts in the traditional field of thermophysical properties into one group, probably the Properties of Fluids Group, to increase its effectiveness. The panel finds this appropriate. Such a change will require the formulation of a new focus for the Fluid Science Group. In addition, the Pressure Group has not traditionally had a substantial research focus; research goals must be established for this group. The high fraction of OA support for this division has led to questions about the desirability of OA work and proper guidelines for its pursuit. Although it is generally agreed that the level of OA-funded research should be reduced, the division lacks appropriate policies for doing so while maintaining a degree of continuity with agencies that have a traditional relationship with the division. The panel is also concerned about the number of division staff members and their effective use. Replacements for the 6.5 full-time equivalents lost since the fiscal year 1993 assessment must be carefully planned in light of reevaluated goals. The division may be in a vulnerable position because of hiring limits and may find itself with too few staff and overcommitments in important areas. Matching personnel with objectives is a further challenge for this division. For example, the Process Separations Group was formed without a proper formulation of goals. The group has now been given the thrust area of environmentally relevant separation methods. This presents difficulties in allocation of all the staffs talents. Furthermore, the division is blessed with four NIST fellows, one a senior fellow. This distinction is a measure of the quality of the research professionals in the division; however, the distinction seems to exclude fellows from management responsibility. This limitation hinders the establishment of centers of research excellence within NIST and diminishes the potential contribution of the fellows in guiding and mentoring their colleagues. Assessment of Technical Programs The general quality of the Thermophysics Division's research and standards work is excellent. Its personnel are experts in their fields and enthusiastic about their work. The balance between fundamental research and contracts requiring deliverables is very good. The staff appreciates NIST's mission of enhancing the technology base of industry through research and standards development. The thrust of the Process Separations Group is environmentally significant separation processes, with the focus on development of generic technology for end-of-the-pipe cleanup, a vital national need. Current projects include electrochemical separation of trace metals with simultaneous oxidation of trace organics in waste streams, separation of polychlorinated biphenyls from natural gas condensates, use of membrane systems to remove hydrogen sulfide from natural gas, and use of alternative refrigerants in supercritical extraction to take advantage of their

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 polarity in dissolving polar substances. The group's main problem is that the expertise of some of its personnel is not well matched to the group's research goals. Current projects of the Properties of Fluids Group include measurement and correlation of thermodynamic properties of ammonia-water mixtures relevant to power cycles, development of transient hot-wire techniques to measure the thermal conductivity of electrically conductive fluids, measurement of properties of alternative refrigerants, and continued development of data centers for properties of pure components and mixtures. All of these projects can have an important impact on chemical processing. The group's level of OA funding is probably too great. Also, the group needs to add expertise in modeling thermodynamic and transport properties of fluid mixtures. Current projects in the Fluid Science Group include measurement of transport properties (viscosity) near critical points, development of the vibrating-tube densimeter to operate at high temperatures (>600 K), use of wave-guided pressure oscillations to measure heat capacity and viscous and thermal diffusivities in gases, and measurement of infinite dilution activity coefficients in mixtures of alternative refrigerants. This is significant fundamental research leading to descriptions of properties of important industrial materials. The Pressure Group is doing an excellent job in continually improving the calibration of pressure gauges. Outreach to manufacturers and users of calibration instruments and professional organizations related to pressure measurement shows excellent leadership. The new large-diameter gauge under development by the group looks very promising. The research of the Vacuum Group is focused on measurement of vacuum and flow control. The group's thrusts are in partial pressure analysis and calibration standards of mixed gases, improved instrumentation for vacuum measurement (e.g., spinning rotor gauge controlled by personal computer), conductance-based calibrations using constricting devices of different configurations, and establishment of standard mixtures for gases. These thrusts are all appropriate. The group 's new technique for two-photon ionization signatures of gases in mixtures with mass spectrometric detection (REMPI) seems very promising. The group's main problems are an overcommitment to OA projects and insufficient STRS funding to pursue basic research in instrumentation. Recommendations The following are the panel's recommendations for the Thermophysics Division. The Thermophysics Division must finalize a strategic plan for each group, especially for upcoming hiring decisions. The division has been very responsive to the panel's fiscal year 1993 concerns about strategic planning. However, the strategic planning process is not yet complete. Guidelines for the pursuit of OA funds must be articulated. What criteria are used to determine if proposals are within the goals of the division? How far can the staff pursue OA funding for research that is not in the mainstream of the division's goals?

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1994 The division should seek links with university research groups and have graduate students spend extended periods (1 year or more) at NIST carrying out research under joint supervision of their faculty advisor and a NIST scientist or engineer. This would propagate NIST 's world-class experimental techniques and equipment into universities. Efforts must be initiated to allow NIST fellows to take an active role in managing research and researchers. Fellows should, at the very least, play a primary role as mentors for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are in residence at NIST.

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