March 25, 2020 – Wednesday Luncheon – Carl J. Williams

Title: Measurement Challenges for Schrodinger’s Cat

Affiliation: Joint Quantum Institute and QuICS National Institute of Standards and Technology


In the early 1900’s, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein and others laid the foundations of quantum mechanics — nature’s instruction book for the smallest particles of matter. Now 100 years later researchers are primed to harvest the fruits of basic research resulting from Quantum Information Science – the confluence of Information Science and Quantum Mechanics – two of the revolutionary developments of the 20th century.  Quantum information scientists have already convincingly demonstrated the long-term feasibility of these new approaches and there are now an emerging number of niche applications, including NIST’s own quantum logic clock as well as revolutionary new approaches to communication and computing.

This presentation will begin with an introduction to Quantum Information Science (QIS).  I will then describe how QIS provides the basis for a set of disruptive technologies which will dramatically change technology and society in the early 21st century and move measurement science to its ultimate limits of what is physically possible.  I will describe how the suite of resulting technologies will revolutionize measurement science and bring zero-chain traceability to the factory floor, the automobile, infrastructure, and consumer applications.   These devices in many cases will not require calibration and will be fit for purpose.  This talk will end with a brief discussion of this emerging field and the quandaries it allows for in measurement science including the ability to a) correct a quantum state only if you learn nothing about the state, b) to make measurements beyond the standard quantum or shot-noise limit, c) to create computers that are more powerful based on the laws of quantum mechanics, and d) to detect individual quanta of light known as photons.

March 26, 2020 – Thursday Luncheon – Krista M. Robbins

Title: ASTM E20 on Temperature Measurement

Affiliation: ASTM International


Are you looking to learn about standards? The relevance of standards in the world today? How standards are utilized and developed in specific industries? Attend my session to learn more about standards, how they are utilized in the marketplace currently and what standards are being developed for the future.

March 27, 2020 – Friday Luncheon – Gerardo A. Brucker

Title: Progress toward commercial realization of a compact and cost-effective photonics-based primary pressure measurement standard, based on the principles of quantum mechanics

Affiliation: Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, Chief Scientist/CTO at MKS Instrument in charge of pressure measurement solutions


Operating under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), MKS Instruments, Inc. and NIST, are on a fast track to develop the first commercially available and cost-effective Primary Pressure Measurement Standard based on the fundamental quantum characteristics of gas refractive index.

The new pressure standard relies on ab-initio quantum-chemistry calculations of gas refractive index and is a new route to realizing the Pascal. First principles pressure measurements are performed optically within a fixed-length optical cavity (FLOC) developed by NIST, which consists of a pair of Fabry–Pérot interferometers within a single block of ultralow-expansion glass.

A compact laser system, designed by MKS Instruments, supplies the necessary light and optics. The change in optical path length between the two cavities (one at vacuum and one at the pressure to be measured) depends on the refractive index, density, and molecular properties of the gas. Helium’s atomic properties were recently calculated from first principles, so that refractivity measurement leads to a determination of pressure inside the FLOC.

While helium’s refractive index has recently been calculated by theory, the value of nitrogen refractive index remains too difficult for current computational theory to handle. Using the NIST mercury manometer, along with helium’s theoretical value of refractive index in a FLOC, has resulted in a new experimental value for nitrogen refractive index.

This enables the FLOC to be used with nitrogen as a pressure standard with direct primary traceability to NIST. The current sensor is at least 20 times smaller and significantly lighter than the mercury column manometers used as primary pressure standard around the world. Moreover, it is mercury-free and therefore environmentally friendly.

The aim of the CRADA partnership is technology transfer to the market place, and development of a bench-scale instrument for real world metrology operations at industrial applications. The current status of NIST MKS CRADA will be briefly presented along with a more detailed discussion of current measurement specifications including: pressure range, signal-to-noise and resolution.