The Time and Frequency Division is reasonably well supported and the resources are adequate, although the division is actively engaged in many frequency standard development programs at the moment and could make very good use of additional resources if they were available. There are recognized needs for more laboratory space, especially for the ion storage group, that should be addressed when NIST obtains space formerly occupied by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder. The disconnected nature of the division's space is also an issue. The activities of the division would benefit if they were not so widely dispersed throughout the building.
The panel presents the following major observations.
The work of the Physics Laboratory is of high technical merit overall. Researchers often are at or define the state of the art in their field. Programs and projects are generally appropriate to the mission.
Laboratory staff represents one of the world's finest assemblages of talent in many areas of physics.
Facilities shortcomings noted in the previous assessment continue. The planned Advanced Measurement Laboratory, if built, would eliminate these problems for the most sensitive experiments.
More cohesive management of database activities is required to establish ownership and responsibility for this core Institute function. This should include a comprehensive review of the need for data, better understanding of its users, and how well user and potential user needs are met. Sufficient stable funding for database activities must be ensured to avoid loss of this resource.
The laboratory's planned initiative in optical technology should have a significant interdisciplinary component, involving substantial participation by other NIST laboratories.