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Production sequence of Si-spheres and interferometrical determination of the sphere volume

Precision Engineering

Division 5

Dimensions from several metres down to nanometres — precise dimensional metrology as backbone of a reliable and sustainable industrial production.


It is the main task of the division to assure the traceability of industrial measurements in different length and angle ranges by application of special measuring instruments, methods and standards. Also hardness metrology belongs to its scope. The aim of these activities is to offer traceability to industry in an adequate way and to jointly solve respective measurement challenges.
The research and development activities needed for these tasks focus on new measurement methods, instrumentation and standards. In addition the division is engaged in manufacturing and measurement tasks in the field foundations of metrology. The Scientific Instrumentation offers construction and manufacturing services for special components and precision instruments for the whole PTB.


Within the scope of the EMPIR project "Strength-ABLE", a picoindenter was developed based on a microelectromechanical system (MEMS). The system is designed to bridge the measurement gap between scanning force microscopes (AFM) and nanoindentation devices. It offers indentation forces up to 400 μN and reaches indentation depths up to 9 μm at a force resolution of 9 nN. Commercially available AFM cantilevers with diamond tips can be used as indenters.

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In surveying, traceability to the SI definition of the metre is mainly based on calibration measurements using geodetic reference baselines realized by pillars. An optical primary standard, the TeleYAG system, was developed and successfully verified by PTB within the European metrology research project “Metrology for long distance surveying” for the calibration of these reference distances with low uncertainty. A good practice guide compiles recommendations for planning, measurement, analysis, and uncertainty assessment of such calibrations for surveyors.

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A calibration setup for the quantitative characterization of the quasi-static properties of micro- and nanopositioning stages was developed. An important component of the calibration setup is a four-beam plane-mirror differential interferometer (Jamin interferometer (NPL)). Due to the special optical and mechanical design of the calibration set-up, a resolution of 14 pm and a noise limit of less than 10 pm / √Hz (for frequencies > 1 Hz) were achieved.

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Data Analysis Service for Precision Engineering

The data analysis support provides advice to adopt numerical and system theoretical procedures to the specific tasks of the different departments. The support covers detailed advice and implementation support as well as tests and comparisons. Furthermore, the roughness reference software RPTB is also taken care of here, Opens external link in new windowhttps://www.ptb.de/rptb.

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