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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Chapter 2 Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 PANEL MEMBERS V. Thomas Rhyne, Motorola, Inc., Chair Karen H. Brown, SEMATECH Ralph K. Cavin III, Semiconductor Research Corporation Larry A. Coldren, University of California, Santa Barbara James P. Eisenstein, California Institute of Technology H.R. Hofmann, Lucent Technologies Roger F. Hoyt, IBM Storage Systems Division Carl O. Jelinek, Jelinek and Associates Donald B. Keck, Corning, Inc. Solomon Max, LTX Corporation Suzanne R. Nagel, Lucent Technologies Lori S. Nye, MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. William G. Oldham, University of California, Berkeley Don Parker, Hughes Aircraft Company Alton D. Patton, Texas A&M University John M. Rowell, John Rowell Inc. Robert E. Schwall, American Superconductor Corporation Thomas J. Shaffner, Texas Instruments Incorporated Peter W. Staecker, M/A-COM, Inc. Hugo Vifian, Harmonic Lightwaves John A. Wehrmeyer, Eastman Kodak Company Submitted for the panel by its Chair, V. Thomas Rhyne, this assessment of the fiscal year 1996 activities of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory is based on site visits by individual panel members, a formal meeting of the panel February 12–14, 1997, in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and on documents provided by the laboratory.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 LABORATORY-LEVEL REVIEW Laboratory Mission The mission of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (EEEL), as stated by the laboratory, is to improve U.S. economic competitiveness, government operations, and health and safety by providing essential supporting generic technology and fundamental research to industry, government, and educational institutions. Key deliverables are measurement capability (for absolute accuracy and reproducibility) and reference data. These are realized through development of measurement methods, support theory, measurement reference standards (including the national primary standards for electricity), and calibration and other measurement services to assure measurement traceability. The deliverables are provided for electronic and electrical materials, components, equipment, and systems, operating over the range from DC to light. These deliverables support research and development, manufacturing, marketplace exchange, and operation of electronic and electrical products. The panel believes that this mission statement appropriately encompasses the activities of the laboratory. However, the existing statement is so lengthy and wide ranging that it was difficult to find anyone in the laboratory who could begin to quote it; it is therefore unlikely that it serves to focus EEEL staff efforts. Nonetheless, the laboratory 's mission seems well aligned and integrated with the overall mission of NIST. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of the Work The technical merit of the EEEL's programs continues to be of the highest caliber. Although there are always opportunities to improve, as a whole the work of the EEEL is world class. In general, the ongoing activities within the divisions and offices of the EEEL are most appropriate for a national standards laboratory and consonant with their stated missions. Most of the activities of the EEEL reflect sustained progress toward stated goals and are producing measurable results. The quality and appropriateness of individual projects are discussed in more detail in the divisional and office reports that follow. The EEEL generally does an excellent job of disseminating the results of its work. It utilizes many channels, including monographs, technical notes, and other publications; lectures and presentations; participation in technical societies; seminars and workshops; and calibration and consultation services. The EEEL technical staff is also readily available to interact and share information with their customers in industry, academia, and other national laboratories. This accessibility is one of the greatest benefits the EEEL brings to industry and academia. In addition, however, the panel thought that both NIST and the EEEL do not fully exploit the capabilities of the World Wide Web to reach users and potential customers. The Web site does not sufficiently incorporate user-friendly hypertext links for Institute, laboratory, and divisional home pages, pages that showcase technological advances, monitoring of “hits” as an indicator of user interest, and facilitation of e-mail to NIST and EEEL researchers.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Industrial Impact The panel recognizes that the EEEL is involved in the realization, representation, and dissemination of the International System (SI) units of measurement, as well as in basic metrological research, so it was not surprising to discover that the EEEL has continued to have a great impact on U.S. industry and trade. The panel notes that the EEEL is striving to maximize this impact by developing effective interfaces with its many and varied customers. Of course, resource limitations will not allow the EEEL to respond to every need, but the laboratory clearly organizes its efforts to meet as many demands as possible. Projects such as the high-dimensional empirical linear prediction (HELP) program, discussed below in the Electricity Division review, are excellent examples of the effort to maximize the value of the EEEL activities. The speed at which calibration services are being delivered has improved over the past 3 years. As the EEEL ventures into new services such as the calibration of electronic multifunction calibrators and transfer standards, the speed at which these services are delivered will become increasingly critical to customers and may require further reductions in turnaround time. Laboratory Resources Funding for the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (in millions of dollars): Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997 (estimated) NIST-STRS 31.1 33.3 ATP 1.5 1.205 Other Agency (OA) 10.3 10.5 Calibration Services 2.0 2.2 Other 2.7 2.71 Total 44.9 47.2 The EEEL has a paid staff of 324, of which 213 are technical professionals and 115 hold a PhD degree. In general, the EEEL is well staffed with highly professional people. A number of more experienced technical staff are approaching retirement, but some exciting new talent is gradually being added to the EEEL ranks. It is obvious that the management of EEEL is working to maintain appropriate levels of expertise. The EEEL appears to be appropriately funded, with a good balance among its sources of revenue. Each of the divisions has a goal to meet so as to avoid a high level of dependency on OA funds. This prudent plan appears to be working well. The capital equipment within the laboratory generally appeared appropriate. High-quality technical instruments are generally installed and used as necessary, yet excessive expense
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 has been avoided. Specific scientific equipment that is not up to date is noted in the division-level reports that follow. The physical facilities of the EEEL were a major concern to the panel, however. Although laboratory space is generally adequate, in some areas of the laboratory, access is difficult and cables and other obstacles could create a safety hazard. Of greater concern is the adequacy of basic building services such as electrical power and air temperature, humidity, and cleanliness at both Gaithersburg and Boulder. An internal study of the power quality at the NIST Gaithersburg site was conducted in the late 1980s. The data from this study show that typically there are one or two gross power outages per month of at least 1 sec. Such outages could cause lost or corrupted measurement results or even equipment damage or failure. Although the study was conducted several years ago, the problem apparently still exists. Poor air temperature and humidity control are negatively affecting several of the programs, and poor temperature control is a significant source of measurement uncertainty in AC voltage calibrations. The effects of poor humidity control can be seen in the seasonally cyclical outputs from Zener diode reference standards, for example. In addition, new clean-room areas of appropriately high quality (approaching Class 1 or better) are needed if the EEEL is to serve the metrology needs of U.S. industries moving to that level of cleanliness and beyond. Two other issues that could endanger the effectiveness of the EEEL are electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection and general laboratory security. Although the EEEL staff is knowledgeable on the subject, the panel observed a casual attitude toward ESD hazards. Much of the electronics industry has invested significantly in procedures and equipment to monitor and protect equipment from ESD. NIST staff should follow such procedures to minimize potential hardware failure, especially when performing calibrations for customers. The panel also observed that most laboratories are accessible to anyone in the area, which can put valuable equipment and intellectual property at risk. Although the accessibility of the EEEL staff is laudable, the security of the contents of the laboratories is also a consideration. This is especially true since NIST is a public place with frequent visitors, making unfamiliar faces in the hallways common. Laboratory Planning A detailed and comprehensive planning process is used by the EEEL. This process draws input from many sources and covers both short-and long-term issues. The EEEL also uses a follow-up process to ensure the effectiveness of its activities. Current programming is reviewed versus newly identified needs, and programs of lower priority are terminated to allow new programs of greater potential impact to be initiated. The panel observed that the current plans were generally in line with current needs, especially in view of the continued mismatch between the metrology needs of U.S. electrotechnical industries and the resources available to the EEEL. Maintaining this match in the face of changes in the nature of these industries is a difficult task. EEEL managers have used their best judgment in allocating resources to the various divisions and projects, seeking maximum impact for the projects they do select. This is appropriate; simply allocating the EEEL's limited resources in proportion to the sizes of various segments of that industry is probably not the best way for EEEL management to address this task.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 DIVISIONAL REVIEWS Electricity Division Mission The Electricity Division stated its mission as follows: The Electricity Division provides the fundamental basis for all electrical measurements in the United States. The division supports U.S. industry by providing electrical measurements and standards infrastructure required to develop new products, ensure quality, and compete internationally. The division realizes the electrical units in terms of the SI and determines fundamental constants relating to electrical units. The division is responsible for providing calibration services and developing and improving the measurement methods and services needed to support electrical materials, components, instruments and systems used for conducted electrical power, industrial electronics, and electronic-related products and services. The division is responsible for facilitating the design, manufacture, documentation, procurement, and application of electronic systems by supporting development of product data exchange standards and specifications. The division is also responsible for the development of measurement technology to support electronic imaging and video products. The mission of the division is integrated with the mission of NIST. The statement per se, however, reads more like a list of tasks than a brief statement that aims to clarify the division's overarching purpose and direction. It is not worded to provide a framework for assuring that the division's staff members be readily reminded of their mission and goals. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The technical level of the various activities within the division is uniformly high and appropriate to execute the basic mission. These activities range from the application of state-of-the-art metrological techniques to realize basic units in terms of the SI system (e.g., the farad via the calculable capacitor and the kilogram via the watt balance) to the more traditional activities of maintaining voltage and resistance standards and performing calibrations. The recent hiring of a number of talented young scientists has reaffirmed NIST 's strong reputation as a good place to pursue a scientific career, and this positions the division well for the near future. To assure its future ability to execute its basic mission, the division is pursuing an aggressive metrological research agenda. In addition to enhancing its research efforts in the quantum Hall effect through acquisitions of new cryogenic and lithographic equipment, a world-class effort on the application of single-electron tunneling (SET) to the development of capacitance standards is under way. The panel believes that the collaboration on this project between EEEL researchers at both the Gaithersburg and Boulder facilities is a positive and exemplary development. The SET work and the ongoing “electronic kilogram” project are flagship examples of how the EEEL is maintaining its position at the cutting edge of metrology. The panel noted that calibration services associated with basic electrical standards contribute roughly 80 percent of the total calibration income of the division and fully half of the
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 EEEL total income in this category. Using calibration income as a metric suggests that the division's work is highly effective. In general, the panel believes that the division does a good job of disseminating the results of its activities, using numerous channels of communications for that purpose. The division also has been particularly effective in disseminating information through training seminars such as the long-standing training for Electrical Measurement Assurance Programs. Unfortunately, the EEEL has discontinued its course on Basic Electrical Metrology. Seminars of this type are an effective way of disseminating information to industry and should not be overlooked or underestimated. Dissemination of the work of the Video Laboratory appeared insufficient. That laboratory has invented methods for testing the quality of video compression algorithms, including the development of a suite of video images that stresses the widely used MPEG (motion pictures expert group) compression algorithm. This work has produced a software algorithm that identifies portions of video images that have not been satisfactorily compressed, highlighting areas with subjectively annoying artifacts. The panel believes that this is a valuable tool for avoiding time-consuming human evaluations of video images. However, the work has not been disseminated to all who have a potential interest in it, including the cable and broadcast industries, the broadcast engineering community, and production organizations. The division has made a major contribution in standards for electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements. However, concerns over the health effects of EMF are proving to be unfounded, and the OA funding for this activity is ending. The relevance of further work in this area is questionable. The Flat Panel Display project has identified that many aspects of the optical characteristics of flat panel displays have not been fully described in the literature. The staff working on this project are now generating standards for measuring the contrast ratio and uniformity of such displays. However, an opportunity is being missed: The NIST Physics Laboratory has one of the world's most respected experts in photometry. Closer cooperation between groups in these two laboratories could help prevent duplication of effort and of laboratory equipment. The staff of the Automated Electronics Manufacturing project was working on issues of significant importance to this emerging field of international standardization. Their work is closely aligned with a number of external standardization efforts, thereby increasing the effect of their limited projects. Prior concerns about this group being below critical mass have been eliminated, and the renewed enthusiasm within this group was notable. Industrial Impact The division's impact on industry differs between programs, even those within the same area. The division's work relating to the electric power industry is divided into two programs: Dielectrics Research and Metrology for Electric Power Systems. The research projects in dielectrics have been largely driven by OA funding and are thus not well coordinated with the division's overall mission. These projects do not appear to be driven by industry needs, although
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 they do have potential value to industry; however, there is no coherent strategy for work in this area. The division's work on partial discharges and related techniques for cable condition monitoring is certainly of great interest and practical importance to industry. There is much research in progress worldwide in these areas; however, the void left by the illness of a key staff member may make it difficult for the NIST program to remain relevant. Appropriate industry and university contacts and relationships are currently lacking. A relatively new activity in plasma processing for semiconductors does appears to be industry driven and highly relevant to industry needs. Results from this work have been made available through a Web page, an excellent means of information transfer. Over the past 2 years, the division staff undertook a careful planning study of metrology needs and opportunities in the electric power industry, particularly of changing needs as the industry deregulates. This study was well done and should focus the area's activities and allocation of resources. EEEL's contacts and relationships with other players in this area (including industry, the Electric Power Research Institute, the American Public Power Association, universities, and government and regulatory agencies) are appropriate and important. The division's calibration support for watt-hour meters is being upgraded and automated. There are plans to address concerns about harmonics and their impact on meter accuracy and to extend these services to include the calibration of three-phase meters. These are important services to industry. Likewise, the division's work in high-voltage measurement and calibration is excellent and likely to grow as the number of metering points in the electric power grid increases under deregulation. Division staff are also making major contributions to the development and modification of various standards in electric power. The project on testing strategies for high-dimensional empirical linear prediction (HELP) has the potential for significant impact. This project has devised a system for modeling instruments with transfer functions determined by “hidden” algorithms. Examples of such instruments are data converters and root-mean-square-to-DC converters. Based on an analysis of the structure of the instrument, a small subset of the instrument's inputs can be applied and the results for all other inputs extrapolated. The division has produced a software algorithm that manipulates appropriate data points to model the instrument and verifies the results using the remaining collected data. This algorithm is not totally new, but it has been developed into a useful and convenient software package. The division has made major efforts to disseminate this information throughout the instrument manufacturing community and conducted several seminars to instruct potential users in the strength of the algorithm. This effort is exemplary. The Automated Electronics Manufacturing project, by working closely with related external efforts, has obtained significant leverage for its focused efforts. As a result, the impact of their work appears quite significant considering the size of this group. Their work on AP 210 has been significant in completing that standard. Efforts to create and disseminate a prototype browser for an electronic component dictionary should prove highly useful as more and more industries shift to online data resources.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Resources Funding for the Electricity Division (in millions of dollars): Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997 (estimated) NIST-STRS 7.0 7.7 ATP 0.3 0.4 Other Agency (OA) 1.9 1.9 Calibration Services 0.9 1.1 Other 0.5 0.4 Total 10.1 11.1 The division has a paid staff of 76, of which 49 are technical professionals and 21 hold a PhD degree. Overall, the distribution of funding of the division is appropriate, with about 20 percent of the funds coming from other agencies. Even so, the panel identified two general issues that may be reducing the division's effectiveness: the reported low morale of the calibration staff, and the adequacy of staffing in certain programs. Several of the calibration staff said they believed that their activities were held in lower esteem than the other work of the division. This may be due to how the division sets priorities. As it was explained to the panel, the division's goal is to develop new technologies and methods and to provide calibration capabilities only until industry or other organizations can start comparable services. The panel agrees that this is the appropriate use of the division's skills and resources. However, those individuals directly involved in calibration may constantly be part of a diminishing service that attracts less recognition and presents fewer opportunities for patents and other awards. Although the level of staffing is appropriate throughout the division and the people are generally highly skilled and motivated, some projects are only marginally staffed and clearly need either additional personnel or a change in project scope. For example, the AC Voltage Calibration program is clearly understaffed. This service provides calibration of multirange calibrators and transfer standards, and it has experienced a growing workload and slowed delivery times. Rapid delivery of these services is essential due to the types of customers served and the nature of the devices being calibrated. Some transfer devices have stability specifications as short as 30 days. To realize their full potential, it is essential that these devices be calibrated quickly and their calibration reports issued to the customer promptly. With the increased number of laboratory accreditations in the United States, the demand for these services will continue to increase dramatically. The division must prepare itself for this future workload. Similarly, the staffing of the Video Laboratory appears marginal in relation to the metrology needs of this key industrial sector, considering the immense size of the television industry as a share of U.S. gross domestic product. The equipment appears adequate for the current staff size of the project, however, as do the facilities, although they show signs of age. The Optoelectronic Technology and Printed Wiring Board Dielectric Properties projects also appear to be marginally staffed, and the laboratory used to house their equipment is
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 cramped. Temperature effects influence the pulse stability, and the temperature and humidity controls are inadequate for the project. The Wide Pulse Parameter Estimation project is somewhat understaffed, and the quality of the measurements being made within this project is being affected by the lack of environmental controls on its laboratory space. The oscilloscopes available for making measurements are not the fastest on the market. The sampling heads of the oscilloscopes used within this project are also potentially vulnerable to ESD. A policy that establishes and enforces ESD procedures would be appropriate. Equipment funding within the Fundamental Electrical Measurements group is adequate. Although some of the apparatus is clearly old (such as the ratio transformers in the capacitance laboratory), it apparently remains the best available. On the other hand, a substantial amount of money is available to upgrade or initiate select endeavors (for example, quantum Hall research and the SET project). The facilities of Fundamental Electrical Measurements Group are, in several cases, seriously inadequate. Problems include uncontrolled humidity, insufficiently controlled temperature, lack of adequate vibration isolation, and insufficient air filtration. These deficiencies have real effects on the group's ability to do its work, ranging from the required shutdown of certain routine calibration activities to the inability to measure large resistances on humid days. A particularly noticeable example is the substandard building that houses the electronic kilogram experiment. Large temperature swings and inadequate vibration isolation constantly hamper this work. This experiment lies at the core of the NIST's basic metrology mission, yet it is being carried out in a marginal facility. The Automated Electronics Manufacturing project has benefited from an increase in staff and the return of key contributors from assignments outside of the EEEL. The current staffing level is more appropriate to the scope of work of this project than was previously observed. Planning The panel believes that the division uses a generally thorough and comprehensive planning process. Careful analysis of needs and weighing of priorities are performed, as well as follow-up to measure effectiveness. Semiconductor Electronics Division Mission The Semiconductor Electronics Division stated its mission as follows: The Semiconductor Electronics Division provides leadership in developing the semiconductor measurement infrastructure essential to improving U.S. economic competitiveness; plans and implements its programs in cooperation with the semiconductor industry; conducts research in metrology for semiconductor materials, processing, devices, and integrated circuits; provides necessary test methods, physical standards and supporting data and technology; and collaborates with industry, academia, and government agencies; and participates in professional
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 organizations, advisory committees, and technical workshops. The division's primary focus is on mainstream silicon complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology; its programs also respond to industry measurement needs related to compound semiconductors, power devices, and silicon-on-insulator devices. The panel considers the mission statement appropriate. The articulation and focus of the division mission has greatly improved over the last several years, and the current emphasis on mainstream silicon technology is particularly apt. The division mission is also well integrated into the EEEL and NIST missions. However, division programs that include process development are less mission appropriate than those focused more on metrology and standards activities. The division is specifically focused on improving U.S. semiconductor industry competitiveness. Given the overall mission of NIST to support the U.S. economy, the semiconductor industry represents a technologically aggressive and rapidly growing market segment requiring special emphasis. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The technical content of the division's programs is generally strong and of high quality, and many programs have substantial impact. The division's personnel work effectively with their colleagues in industry, academia, and other government agencies, leveraging their capabilities through joint publications of papers, participation in Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and ATP projects, hosting visiting scientists from industry, and assuming leadership positions in national roadmap development projects. The best projects in the division are both technically strong and in accord with the division's mission. Some projects, however, are not entirely in keeping with the division's mission or are only evolving in their relevance to it. Highlighted below are the strongest projects as well as those the panel believes need to be reconsidered or redirected. The Metrology for Process and Tool Control project has made outstanding technical advances relevant to the division's mission. This project has demonstrated the world's first single-crystal electrical linewidth structure for reference material applications. This is a significant advance in gate-length and overlay metrology, a key factor for economically viable semiconductor manufacturing. The Thin-Film Process Metrology project demonstrates the division 's world-class expertise in thin-film metrology. The panel was impressed that the division succeeded in measuring interface roughness using weak-localization on an actual commercial device with the so-called “fatFET” field-effect transistor. The division's ability to reference 7.5-nm films is excellent, but industry anticipates needing support in thinner films (3 nm). Equipment and facilities issues in this project have been resolved through a CRADA with VLSI Standards, Inc., on development of NIST Traceable Reference Materials for film thickness. These efforts are in keeping with the division mission. The activities of the Scanning Probe Microscopy Metrology project are all mission appropriate and are critical to development of future gigabit CMOS devices. The use of scanning capacitance microscopy to define shallow junction dopant distribution with 10-nm precision is a world-class effort.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 setting standards for measurement of superconductor parameters; and provides the metrology infrastructure needed for the industrial development of superconductors for both large and small-scale applications; provides new measurement methods, instrumentation, imaging and characterization tools, and standards in support of the magnetics industry; develops measurement technology to determine basic properties of magnetic materials and structures with support from theoretical studies and modeling; and collaborates with the magnetic recording industry in development of metrology to support future recording heads and media with a rapidly increasing storage density. This mission is well integrated into the overall mission of the EEEL. Both in the areas of magnetics and superconductivity and low-temperature electronics, the division's mission is squarely focused on basic standards and metrology for the U.S. industrial and scientific communities. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The quality of the division's work in superconductivity is outstanding. The division's projects are unique to NIST, complement and support work in industry, and provide a metrology basis for superconducting materials and devices that is unique in the United States and (in some cases), to the world. The division's projects in superconductivity are appropriate and affect a much broader range of products and processes than the strict areas of superconducting materials and devices. Areas affected include medical magnetic resonance imaging, analytical nuclear magnetic resonance, magnetic separation, and fundamental international voltage standards. The staff has been effective in targeting efforts toward newer and more rapidly growing aspects of superconductivity, such as high-temperature superconductors for large-scale and microelectronics applications. The division's excellent research on developing microcalorimeter x-ray detectors has been recognized by both the Department of Commerce and outside groups and is appropriate work for NIST. The widespread use and commercialization of that work would increase the project's value to industry and accelerate improvement of this measurement technique. The division has not fully availed itself of the possibility of closer ties to thermophysics researchers in the NIST Physics Laboratory in application of advanced cryocooler designs, which could benefit this project as well as efforts in voltage standards. Funding constraints appear to be limiting work within the division on superconductor standards to a level below what would be required to truly meet industry and national needs. Nevertheless, this work is of high quality and effectively communicated. The superconductor electrical transport project is adequately supported due to an aggressive campaign to obtain OA funding. This project continues many years of high-quality research in this area. The results of this work are also well communicated through the scientific literature and direct contact with OA sponsors. The division's work on measurement of microwave surface resistance in high-temperature superconductor films is innovative, unique, and crucial to industry development. Support for key national standards in low-temperature measurements is appropriate and important. The results of these projects are effectively disseminated through presentations at
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 consortia meetings, society conference publications, personal communications with professionals, journal publications, and NIST-hosted technical committee meetings. The division's work in magnetics is improving in quality and quantity. Both the magnetic switching time measurements and the magnetic imaging reference standard projects have produced important new results since the panel 's previous assessment, and they will likely continue to improve the division's visibility and impact. Ongoing projects on magnetics modeling, slow scan recording, and advanced magnetic probe microscopy will also enable the division to set fundamental and operational standards needed by the magnetics technology industry. Industrial Impact The industrial impact of the division's programs in superconductivity is quite high. For example, the Superconductor Standards and Technology project for critical-current measurements is internationally recognized as a leader. These researchers are taking a lead role in developing international standards for measuring critical current, which is difficult to do correctly and accurately and often the subject of scrutiny and debate. This project is key to maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the global superconductor marketplace. The Interfaces and Electrical Transport project provides unique measurement capabilities and expertise affecting a wide range of superconductor applications, from superconducting magnetic energy storage to motors and to naval minesweeping applications. The division's work on superconductivity and cryogenic electronics is an enabling technology with a broad spectrum of applications both in industry and at NIST. The device work carried out at Boulder is being exploited in the low-temperature metrology and standards systems research at Gaithersburg. Its impact is also felt in the science and technology of standards and measurement well out of proportion to the level of STRS resources dedicated to it. This division's work in superconductivity is also at the base of the development chain that moves from enabling technology to metrology and standards and to industrial competitiveness. The division's participation in international standards for superconductivity is not currently supported at a level an effective program would need. The industrial impact of these efforts is substantial. Maintaining a competitive U.S. position may require that NIST take on a national leadership role, organizing both industrial and government collaboration. The division's work in magnetics is aimed at providing a fundamental metrology basis for the magnetic storage industry. The division also has a good record in fundamental magnetics measurements. In the last several years, the division's efforts in magnetics have begun to have a real impact on the mainline magnetics and storage industry. The division's magnetics imaging reference standard for the first time provides a common ground for metrological comparisons between different industrial laboratories and test facilities. The second harmonic magneto-optic Kerr effect (SHMOKE) measurement of fundamental switching times of magnetic materials establishes a foundation for a fundamental limit of magnetic storage devices. Additionally, new projects being initiated in magnetic microscopy and head metrology are expected to have significant impact. The magnetics group's participation in industrywide committees and consortia on magnetics (such as NEMI and NSIC [National Storage Industry Consortium]) and
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 the hosting of key industry meetings and conferences at the NIST facilities in Boulder and Gaithersburg is also a significant aid to this industry. Over the past few years, the division has critically evaluated the scope and direction of the superconductivity and low-temperature metrology programs and has initiated new projects and added personnel to a revitalized effort in magnetics. These changes, and further actions planned by the division, will continue to enhance its effectiveness and impact on the U.S. economy. Resources Funding for the Electromagnetic Technology Division (in millions of dollars): Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997 (estimated) NIST-STRS 5.2 4.8 ATP 0.4 0.4 Other Agency (OA) 1.9 2.6 Other 1.2 1.6 Total 7.5 7.8 The division has a paid staff of 53, of which 31 are technical professionals and 23 hold a PhD degree. The overall level of OA funding in the division is quite high—higher than the panel finds desirable. Yet the present level of STRS funding makes extensive OA funding necessary to maintain current projects. The panel noted no instances where inappropriate projects were being pursued because of available OA funding, however. On the contrary, several exceptional projects (such as the microcalorimeter x-ray detector and the superconductor interfaces and electrical transport program) clearly benefit from OA funding. Given the foreseeable level of STRS funding, the scope of programs pursued by the division will be determined by the availability of OA funding. The superconductivity projects are minimally staffed. In some cases, such as standards, a small-scale program can still be effectively executed. However, low staffing levels appear likely to prolong projects enough to diminish their impact. In all cases, the level of available resources is forcing the division to make hard choices about continuing or terminating projects. Current resources allow the division to maintain only a modest effort in magnetics relative to the size of the industry. There has been noticeable improvement in the division's facilities since the panel's previous assessment in 1995, but less than might have been expected. In the Boulder laboratories, for example, the division's location in three widely separated buildings has obvious adverse effects on programs, management, and morale. It is difficult to believe a solution to the problem is impossible. The lack of clean-room space is also a critical issue. Any savings realized by delaying clean-room expansion are now being lost many times over to inefficiencies and delayed technical programs.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Equipment constraints continue to limit the division's engagement in standards and metrology issues for the magnetics industry. Recent additions of SHMOKE apparatus and force microscopy instrumentation have allowed for some progress in magnetics metrology. The Boulder site is strategically situated in a geographic area of important technical and economic growth ideal for division expansion and U.S. industrial impact, as the important industry and technical society conferences in magnetics held at NIST/Boulder clearly indicate. The laboratory space, however, is minimally acceptable to accomplish the division's mission in magnetics. Adding equipment to achieve key milestones in other areas of magnetics standards development and metrology will further erode this situation. Additional space, clean rooms, and other facilities improvements are needed to reduce laboratory overcrowding, properly house sample preparation apparatus, and ensure a healthy and safe work environment for the division' s scientists. Planning The division's planning process includes periodic assessment of proposed projects against EEEL guidelines and project selection criteria. Although these criteria provide an excellent framework by which to assess individual projects, the division does not carry out a formal annual examination of its projects. Some elements of such a process are currently used by certain parts of the division (i.e., the overview used by the Measurements for the Magnetic Storage Industry project). An annual study of environment, strategy, and plan would ensure that key projects are maintained and critical opportunities addressed in a timely manner. Optoelectronics Division Mission The Optoelectronics Division stated its mission as follows: The mission of the Optoelectronics Division is to provide the optoelectronics industry and its suppliers and customers with comprehensive and technically advanced measurement capabilities, standards, and traceability to those standards. The division mission is well stated and succinct, and it fits logically and completely within the overall NIST and EEEL missions. However, the division does not coordinate enough with other optoelectronics activities within NIST or integrate these activities with this mission. Only one-third of NIST's optoelectronics activity is within this division, and 50 percent is outside EEEL.1 1 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Optoelectronics at NIST, NISTIR 5054, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, Colo., 1996.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The activities of this division are divided into four technical areas: sources and detectors, fiber and integrated optics, optical components, and optoelectronics manufacturing. The division currently has eight projects, each with specific goals and objectives and with cross-project teamwork where appropriate. The division's program is balanced and delivers calibrations and standards to industry while initiating new activities in emerging technology areas. The Laser Radiometry project continues to provide well-established calibration services to industry for laser power and energy meters and detectors as well as optical fiber power meters and detectors. This project is a source of additional revenue for the division. Ongoing efforts to improve spectral responsivity, laser power and energy calibrations, optical power accuracy, and automated beam profile measurements are appropriate advances in these services. The panel supports the new thrust to support the semiconductor and medical industries with the characterization of eximer sources and material at 193 nm. In high-speed measurements, a number of well-established projects driven by military and industrial applications (such as measurements for relative intensity noise, frequency and impulse response, power meter accuracy, and low-level time resolved radiometry) should include the important 1550-nm window. The vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) measurement and standards activities are just being established. The panel encourages this development of capability in this rapidly expanding area (which may foster industrial and academic partnerships) as well as collaboration with the division 's Semiconductor Device and Materials project. The capability and program output of the Optical Fiber Metrology project are world class. SRMs for optical-fiber coating diameter, fiber cladding diameter, pin gauge standard for ferrules, optical fiber ferrule geometry, polarization mode dispersion, and chromatic dispersion standards are providing critical tools for the ongoing expansion of the fiber optics industry. The recent round robin with the Telecommunications Industries Association (TIA) on connectors has brought important insight and an alternative definition for undercut and protrusion offsets. The biennially sponsored Optical Fiber Measurements Symposium promotes leadership and an excellent global forum for this important area. The panel was also enthusiastic about the Integrated Optics Metrology project, with its characterization of integrated optics and fiber nonlinear effects. In the Fiber and Discrete Components project, the division's wavelength standard for the 1.55-micron window is an important contribution, particularly as wavelength division-multiplexers optical communication systems are emerging. Similarly, the division's work on polarization-dependent loss and gain metrology of fiber amplifiers is adding new and important precision capability. However, the panel does not concur with the decision to end work on metrology for important photo-induced Bragg gratings. In the Optical Fiber Sensors project, excellent progress has been made in miniaturizing the magnetic field sensor, and the panel supports maintaining a competency in sensor metrology. The seed project in optical data storage metrology is coupled to industry needs and is achieving important measurement results. The panel applauds this new initiative, which was established based on industry input. The Semiconductor Materials and Devices project is responding to an area of significant industrial activity. Unfortunately, the panel observed that this effort is subcritical to achieve on-site metrology advances in this important area, especially if materials growth is undertaken at
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 NIST. Other government organizations, such as Sandia National Laboratories, have existing infrastructure for materials growth. The development of metrology tools for the characterization of new devices, such as VCSELs, and for their design for use in data communication systems, is an important capability for industry. The new effort in optical and electrical characterization of GaN represents an important area of metrology. Again, the panel is concerned regarding resource availability if this initiative involves establishing internal capability for material growth. In the Dielectric Materials and Devices project, the Maker fringe technique developed for characterizing lithium niobate is world class and provides highly useful manufacturing process feedback. However, it is unclear that the Er/Yb glass materials studies are not duplicating work being performed by academic and industrial organizations. In contrast, development of optical amplifier standard performance measurements (such as gain, gain flatness, gain tilt, and noise figures) would be an area where NIST's contribution would be unique. Industrial Impact This division, which was formed 3 years ago, has made great progress in improving the effectiveness of their work based on planning, customer input, project management, and prioritization processes. In some areas the division's capability is truly world class; in other mature areas, important calibrations are consistently delivered to a well-established customer base. However, further improvement in establishing customer communications to improve effectiveness and use of the division' s output is required, especially in new and emerging technical areas. The division has an excellent record of publication and other documentation of project work, uses the World Wide Web more and more to disseminate information, sponsors several important workshops that attract noted participants, and has a diverse level of participation in appropriate standards groups. The recent association with the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA) is also an important link and should further improve the division's program priorities, effectiveness, and metrology leadership role. The division has performed outstanding work that has had a significant impact on the fiber optic and optoelectronics industries. Source and detector measurement services are at the core of the division 's mission and are a visible and effective part of the division's activity. Areas where the division shows world-class effectiveness include optical fiber metrology, Maker fringe work on lithium niobate, and magnetic sensor work. Other notably effective areas include wavelength standards for long wavelength optical communications and the polarization dependent loss technique. However, the outputs of these new endeavors are only now ready for industrial dissemination, and the division 's customer base for this work is not yet broad enough. Because of the relative newness of the division, the methodology for obtaining rigorous customer feedback regarding the impact and the effectiveness of the work, particularly in new areas, is not fully in place. The division's outputs could more broadly affect industry if the appropriate partnerships and dissemination vehicles were available.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Resources Funding for the Optoelectronics Division (in millions of dollars): Fiscal Year 1996 Fiscal Year 1997 (estimated) NIST-STRS 5.3 5.6 ATP 0.23 0.05 Other Agency (OA) 1.5 1.5 Calibration Services 0.15 0.16 Other 0.35 0.3 Total 7.1 7.3 The division has a paid staff of 43, of which 38 are technical professionals and 22 hold a PhD degree. The panel is concerned that the division's current ratio (2:1) of permanent staff to contract researchers could compromise institutional memory in key areas. The existing equipment, though in some cases adequate to perform the work, is below industrial standards and not the state of the art. Given this situation, the panel notes that the caliber of the output from the division is impressive. The division's facilities at Boulder have water, electrical, and thermal management shortcomings. The facility was constructed in the 1950s, and while it is an extremely impressive architectural undertaking that continues to fit well into its environment, it needs an internal renovation. Nearby space vacated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) can help do this in a structured, cost-effective manner. This would also allow the division to physically consolidate laboratories, further enhancing teamwork and communications. Planning The division has greatly improved its planning process since the previous assessment. The established formal process incorporates inputs from user groups, industry associations (for example, TIA, Electronics Industries Association, OIDA, and ISO), standards bodies, and other relevant groups and allows prioritization of project selection and start-up of programs in emerging technology areas. Current projects have clearly stated multiyear goals, objectives, and deliverables. The division has also made great progress in encouraging cross-group teamwork and collaboration on projects. However, a more rigorous methodology for tracking progress against objectives that clearly identify customers and their requirements, and the establishment of success metrics is lacking. The division's recent focus on using quality methodology to manage and position program outputs will further enhance the planning process. Most division programs are now well in line with industry's views of their importance. Nevertheless, the panel does not concur with division plans to expand work on sophisticated processing technology and device
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 fabrication. Development of metrology is NIST's unique mission and should be the focus of programs and projects. Although planning within this division and others at EEEL is improving, the planning in technology areas that span the NIST laboratories could be greatly improved. Approximately two-thirds of NIST's optoelectronics effort is outside this division. Optoelectronics activities could be better coordinated for more efficient use of resources and more synergistic planning. Office of Microelectronics Programs The Office of Microelectronics Programs (OMP) provides a source of funding for microelectronics activities at NIST, especially cross-cutting projects that make full use of the wide range of expertise within all the NIST laboratories. Fiscal year 1996 funding for the operation of the Office of Microelectronics Programs totaled $0.6 million (all Scientific and Technical Research and Services [STRS] funding). There were no major capital expenditures. The OMP administers the NIST-wide National Semiconductor Metrology Program (NSMP) that supports metrology developments related to the National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (NTRS). The total 1996 NSMP funding was $9.7 million STRS. Fiscal year 1997 funding for OMP operation was estimated at the time of the assessment to be $0.8 million STRS. The NSMP funding was estimated at $9.8 million STRS. No major capital expenditures are expected. The office has a paid staff of four, three of whom are technical professionals and two with a PhD degree. The current level of funding for OMP is less than half of that originally planned, and the panel believes that this limits OMP's ability to fully address the metrology needs identified by the NTRS. The panel strongly endorses the cross-disciplinary approach being used by OMP, which provides access to scientists and capabilities from all of the NIST laboratories and promotes joint programs that otherwise might not occur. An internal proposal and evaluation process is used to identify and fund worthwhile projects, and the panel endorses this procedure. The panel acknowledges the role of OMP in NIST's participation in the NTRS exercise and in responding to the needs identified therein. Moreover, the matrix management approach implemented by OMP is unique at NIST, works well, and should be a model for others to follow. The most successful projects within OMP are those that respond to the NIST mission in metrology and standards and are chosen according to the unique skill-set within the organization. Projects that have strayed toward process development are less appropriate. The panel was provided with brief descriptions of several topics representing about 40 percent of the NSMP budget. In the future, to do its job, the panel requests access to the ongoing results of the OMP projects, rather than just a description. The panel has comments on several specific projects. The Rapid Thermal Processing Wafer Temperature Metrology project focuses on improving the accuracy of temperature measurement in this specific type of tool. However, the technical issues (emissivity and infrared background) addressed do not focus sufficiently on metrology goals, placing too great an emphasis on process development.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Collaboration with MIT Lincoln Laboratories and SEMATECH (Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology) on quartz degradation is in progress, and results are not yet available. NIST is able to make the needed measurements with accuracy several orders of magnitude better than other laboratories. Film Thickness by X-ray Reflectance is an established technique, and the OMP-funded project in this area appears to be an appropriate extension to semiconductor applications. The Industry–Environmental Protection Agency–NIST Working Group on persistent Fluorinated Compounds is an appropriate project for NIST, as is the work in New Standards for Low Gas Flow Measurements. Good results were obtained in the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Measurements of Critical Dimensions project, which addresses a critical need for better SEM metrological references and practice. Ultimately, these methods need to be tested in real manufacturing applications. The Wafer and Chuck Flatness/Thickness project's goal of addressing absolute accuracy in the nanometer range for 300-mm wafers is in keeping with NIST's metrology mission. However, process development is consuming resources that might be better focused on metrology. Office of Law Enforcement Standards The Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) provides an important service to the national law enforcement community, working closely with the U.S. National Institute of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fiscal year 1996 funding for the OLES totaled $2.8 million, all from OA support. There were no major capital expenditures. At the time of the assessment, fiscal year 1997 funding was estimated at $4.3 million, again from OA support. Major capital expenditures are expected to be about $0.01 million. The office has a paid staff of eight, of whom four are technical professionals and three hold a PhD degree. OLES provides needed standards services to its customer community and has been quite successful in obtaining OA funding from those agencies to support expansion of these services. Work in standards for law enforcement equipment purchasing, pepper spray evaluation, physical security of doors and windows, fire safety for correctional facilities, DNA typing standards, and body armor is well received and of great benefit to the OLES sponsors. Dissemination of these standards and studies through publication and presentations at conferences has been quite effective. Plans to bring in new projects and to review the need for current efforts appear well thought out. The resources available to OLES is adequate for meeting current efforts. However, the office has opportunities to obtain new external (OA) funding and expand programs, but it has not been allocated additional personnel slots. The current headcount restrictions imposed on OLES limit its expansion into other important areas. OLES plans to identify new projects with input from staff members NIST-wide, to increase the visibility of the OLES efforts by expanded participation in conferences, and to sponsor workshops for the law enforcement and forensic communities appear to be appropriate should expansion occur.
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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997 Although the relationship between EEEL and OLES management is congenial, the OLES placement in the EEEL organizational chart derives from historic reasons. Many current OLES activities, although appropriate to the OLES mission, are unrelated to that of the EEEL. The panel is uncertain whether the EEEL is the best home for OLES. MAJOR OBSERVATIONS The overall technical quality of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory's programs is quite high, and programmatic directions are generally appropriate. The EEEL internal planning process is excellent, assessing customer needs and potential impact. A complete planning process would also include success metrics and the use of formalized quality methodology. The EEEL focus on establishing new areas of metrology expertise based on monitoring of emerging technology, customer inputs, and a structured planning process is excellent. Within optoelectronics, for example, the new thrusts in UV source and material characterization for semiconductor lithography and medical applications, characterization of integrated optics, and metrology for optical data storage and GaN characterization are examples of highly appropriate projects. The panel also supports the laboratory's new efforts in optical amplifier standards and spatial characterization of beams for free space transmission. The current EEEL mission statement does not serve its purpose of keeping staff efforts focused. Physical facilities require upgrading for air temperature and humidity control, air filtration, vibration, and electrical power quality and reliability, to prevent these factors from significantly degrading measurements made in the laboratories. There is no workable plan for additional clean-room space, and no functional overall strategy for integrated project and facilities planning that can proceed independent of broader NIST facilities issues, policies, and actions. The upcoming consolidation of NIST and NOAA laboratories at Boulder is an excellent opportunity to address refurbishing facilities with state-of-the-art equipment while also addressing the disposition of legacy equipment. Industrial and other partnerships, such as equipment donations or loans to perform critical metrology projects, are only some possibilities for meeting equipment needs. The security of the EEEL laboratories is minimal; equipment investments must be protected while maintaining the accessibility of NIST staff to its customers. Electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection policies need review, and compliance with them must be encouraged in the laboratory. Coordination of optoelectronics activities within NIST is insufficient. Better coordination could result in more efficient and effective use of resources and an enhanced ability to meet the needs of this rapidly growing field. Process development is generally not an effective use of EEEL resources. Partnerships with other government laboratories, academia, and industry can be used to couple EEEL metrology efforts with state-of-the-art material growth, device, and fabrication efforts.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: