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News of the Year

Scientific Divisions

Change at the head of PTB

The new and the departing presidents: Prof. Dr. Joachim Ullrich (PTB President from 2012) and Prof. Dr. Ernst O. Göbel (PTB President from 1995 to 2011)

After a term of office of 16 years, Prof. Dr. Ernst O. Göbel retired at the end of 2011. In his term of office, Ernst Göbel pushed the integration of PTB in the European and the international environment. He was continually involved in the international Metre Convention, whose president he also was from 2004 to 2010. The foundation of EURAMET e. V. and the establishment and realization of a mutual European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP) were important contributions to an intensified cooperationand division of labour of the European metrology institutes. Ernst Göbel’s successor to the office of PTB president is the physicist Prof. Dr. Joachim Ullrich, who came to PTB from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) in Heidelberg. Joachim Ullrich, who at MPIK most recently headed the Department “Experimental Few-Particle Quantum Dynamics”, is the 14th president in the 125-year history of PTB. He received his official certificate of appointment to the office of PTB president on 19 December 2011 within the scope of a regularly held PTB Directors Conference, which he attended as a guest. The certificate was presented to Joachim Ullrich by Dr. Sven Halldorn, the head of the “Technology Policy” Department at the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology) (BMWi). With Joachim Ullrich, PTB is carrying on a tradition which started during the time of its founding president Hermann von Helmholtz: that of appointing a renowned scientist at its head.

Ernst Göbel is leaving to his successor a PTB which is in the best position internationally and is well equipped for the present tasks.

Semiconductor Quantum Voltage Source

Prinzipskizze der Halbleiter-Quanten-Spannungsquelle.
Prinzipskizze der Halbleiter-Quanten-Spannungsquelle.

At PTB, it has been possible for the first time to generate a quantized voltage with an integrated semiconductor circuit.

In metrology, resistance has, for a long time, been reproduced with the aid of special semiconductors, whereby the Hall resistance is – due to the quantum Hall effect – quantized in the magnetic field and its value is determined solely by the two fundamental constants h (Planck’s constant) and e (elementary charge). Quantized voltages could, however, so far be generated only with the aid of superconducting circuits, making use of the Josephson effect.

Now PTB has succeeded in combining singleelectron pumps – i.e. semiconductor-based current sources – with a quantum Hall resistor in an integrated semiconductor quantum circuit and in thus generating a quantized voltage. For this purpose, the two components were manufactured in a joint production process from a semiconductor layer system on a chip. To operate the component, only two DC voltages and a high-frequency AC voltage to control the single- electron pump are required.

The novel semiconductor quantum voltage source exhibits a robust quantization of the output voltage up to frequencies of a few GHz, which allowed output voltages of up to 10 μV to be generated. By connecting several singleelectron pumps in parallel and several quantum Hall resistors in series on the semiconductor chip, the output voltage can – in principle – be increased by up to a factor of 1000. This can, for example, be used for fundamental metrological experiments.

Optical primary procedure for chemistry successfully applied in international comparison measurement

Mean value and expanded measurement uncertainty of the creatinine concentration determined (sample B) of all comparison participants (dotted line: mean value of all the values measured by means of IDMS).

A primary reference procedure for the determination of amount of substance concentrations has been developed at PTB. It is based on an optical spectroscopy method (Surface-enhanced Raman Scattering, SERS). In combination with the principle of isotope dilution (ID), it enables a metrologically traceable, quantitative analysis of high precision. With this primary ratio measurement procedure (IDSERS), for the first time an alternative to isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS) has been made available for many clinical-chemical analytes. As a vibrational- spectroscopic method, it brings about various advantages, for example direct structural information, which is frequently needed to identify a substance.

The efficiency of this procedure has now been evidenced for the first time within the scope of an international comparison measurement (RELA 2010, see http://www.dgkl-rfb.de/). The aim of this was to determine the concentration of creatinine – a clinical marker – in two different serum samples. To this end, ten out of the twelve participating laboratories (among them 4 metrology institutes) thereby used the reference procedure that is currently valid – isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS). The creatinine concentrations in serum obtained by means of IDSERS were in both cases in excellent agreement with the mean value of the values measured by means of IDMS. The suitability and efficiency of this method for metrology in chemistry has, thus, been successfully proved.

Silicon resonator makes lasers extremely stable

Beat signal between the silicon-resonator-stabilized laser and one of the reference lasers. Smaller image: Determined laser linewidth (approx. 50 mHz at a frequency of 194 THz).

The best laser systems are limited in their short-time stability by the thermal noise of the reference resonators used. A new resonator made of single-crystal silicon, developed within the scope of the Excellence Cluster “Centre for Quantum Engineering and Space-Time Research” (QUEST) in cooperation with the University of Colorado and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, USA, allowed the achievable short-time stability to be drastically increased.

In single-crystal silicon, thermal fluctuations are excited to a clearly smaller degree than in usual optical glasses. The optical silicon resonator developed at PTB is operated in a cryostat at the minimum of the thermal expansion of silicon at a temperature of 124 K. On this resonator, the frequency of an infrared laser has been stabilized. Stabilization of this laser requires a direct frequency comparison with a reference system. As no second laser of comparable stability is available, a triangular comparison had to be carried out. For this purpose, two lasers based on conventional technologies, which are limited by thermal and technical frequency noise to a relative stability of a few 10–16, were used at a wavelength of 1.5 μm. In spite of this, the triangular comparison allows a laser linewidth of approx. 50 mHz to be derived for the first-mentioned laser from the beat signal between the laser stabilized to the silicon resonator and one of the reference lasers at a frequency of 194 THz.

In this way, a worldwide unique stable reference for laser systems is available for the operation of the optical clocks at PTB, which can also be distributed without losses via the future optical fiber network on the PTB premises.

Future use of the Experimental and Measurement Reactor

The reconstruction of the former Experimental and Measurement Reactor Braunschweig on the premises of PTB has been concluded and the building is now available to the “Scientific Instrumentation” Department.

After a great number of scientific experiments and calibrations of measuring instruments had been carried out in it, the Experimental and Measurement Reactor (nominal power: 1 MW) which had been put into operation in 1967 was shut down in 1995 due to economic considerations. The comprehensive approval procedure under the Atomic Energy Act for the decommissioning and the subsequent dismantling of the building complex lasted until 2005. After that, the laboratory building was converted – among other things – for the fields of construction, electronics, microtechnology and thin-film techniques, in a construction phase which took almost one year. In 2006, the former Machinery House for the new Electroplating Shop, the Semi-finished Products Store and the Materials Store were handed over. Subsequently, other non-contaminated reactor components were removed, and the conversion of the former Experimentation Hall into workspace for the Working Groups “Fabrication of Measuring Instruments” and “Manufacturing of Components” was started. With the Extension “South” to the existing building, air-conditioned rooms were made available for the production areas eroding, grinding, precision- and ultra-precision processing. A new Extension “North” now serves as a new Apprenticeship Workshop.

For the “Scientific Instrumentation” Department, a great number of advantages have opened up: All fields of work lie closely together, the routes within the building and the communal rooms comply with the latest state-of-the-art and the new manufacturing areas are fully air-conditioned. Only in this way can the continuously increasing requirements for production accuracy be met. In addition, a reference wall for the “Coordinate Metrology” Department has been established in the bridge building of the former reactor. On this wall, it is possible for the first time worldwide to carry out high-precision testing of the metrological efficiency of optical 3D length measuring instruments in accordance with the directives.

PTB obtains first value for Boltzmann constant

Cross capacitor and shielding for the determination
of the Boltzmann constant, as well as the appurtenant pressure vessel. The design is conceived for the smallest possible deformation at the required pressure of up to 7 MPa.

Within the scope of the redefinition of the SI base units via fundamental constants, research groups from all over the world are working on the target of determining the value of the Boltzmann constant k with uncertainties of a few ppm. If they are successful, the unit “kelvin” could be redefined. Most groups apply acoustic gas thermometry, a method which has provided the most accurate value to date (approx. 1.2 ppm). PTB has chosen a different – and completely independent – path to detect systematic sources of errors and, thus, to put the redefinition on solid ground.

PTB employs dielectric-constant gas thermometry (DCGT). This method is based on the determination of the density of the gas helium which changes the capacitance of a capacitor. From capacity measurements at a constant temperature (at the triple point of water) and at different pressures in the measuring capacitor, k can be determined. This method places extremely high demands on the measuring technique used and was realized by several departments of PTB in cooperation with external partners.

The first value for k of 1,380655 · 10–23 J/K lies approx. 4 ppm above the latest CODATA value and is, with a relative uncertainty of approx. 8 ppm, the first proof that DCGT is able to determine k at the highest level. However, until the targeted uncertainty of 2 ppm is reached, some difficulties will have to be overcome. Improvements in pressure measurement and an optimization of the design and the materials used for the capacitors can pave the way for a sound redefinition of the unit kelvin.

So far unknown molecular exchange processes in water?

Today, NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) measurements are indispensible for the spectroscopy of liquids in physics, chemistry, biology and medicine. Important measurands are the lifetimes of the magnetizations of atomic nuclei parallel or orthogonal to an applied magnetic field, the so-called longitudinal or transversal relaxation times (T1 and T2). A generally accepted, but not yet experimentally verified theory says that the two relaxation times should approach the same value towards zeromagnetic fields. At PTB, this could be verified for the first time experimentally.

In the worldwide best magnetically shielded room, the Berlin Magnetically Shielded Room- 2 (BMSR-2), and with the aid of the superconducting quantum interferometers (SQUIDs) developed at PTB, the weak NMR signals of ultrapure water could be registered also in very small magnetic fields of down to 0.1 μT. The result was surprising.

Although the relaxation times converge – as expected – to the zero field towards the same value, the shape of the curves is completely different to what had been predicted by theory. The figure shows this on the basis of the reciprocal values of the relaxation times, the relaxation rates: In the area of higher fields, the measurements confirm the theory. Relaxation processes in extremely weak fields of a few micro- teslas reflect, however, molecular mobilities in a frequency range below one kilohertz. The deviations in that area indicate that – in addition to the known fast diffusion processes – also very slow exchange processes with frequencies of around 100 Hz, which have so far not been known, are taking place in water. This casts a new light on the molecular dynamics of water in the low-frequency range.

Mathematical and statistical analysis of dynamic measurements

Results of a simulation calculation: Top: Basic dynamic
acceleration and output signal of the sensor. In a real measurement, only the sensor signal is available. Bottom: Resulting deviations when estimating the acceleration with the statistical analyses usually applied in metrology (red) and with new estimation procedures (green).

In metrology and industry, the analysis of dynamic measurements is constantly gaining in importance. The development of corresponding mathematical and statistical procedures represents, however, a challenge. Mathematical and statistical methods for the analysis of dynamic measurements developed at PTB combine procedures from signal processing, multivariate statistics and measure theory and allow clearly more exact analyses to be performed than the methods usually applied in metrology. They can be understood as an extension of the metrological standard procedure for the determination of the measurement uncertainty, i.e. the “Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement“ (GUM). A special “highlight“ is the extension of the uncertainty determinations to continuous functions, which was achieved in 2011. It is, as a matter of principle, also important beyond the analysis of dynamic measurements, for example in connection with continuous modelling or the solution of inverse problems. Meanwhile, the new analysis methods are used in different applications such as, for example, for the analysis of pressure-, acceleration-, force- and torque measurements and for the calibration of ultrafast sampling oscilloscopes. Also, it would be possible to use this new method for the simulation and analysis of gas supply networks.

Electronic properties of graphene quantum dots in the presence of disorder

(a) A circular graphene quantum dot of potential U and radius R. A sub-lattice potential anisotropy ±Δ between the blue and the yellow atoms opens an energy gap. (b) Comparison between the energies of the bound states of the lattice model (circles) and the solutions of the Dirac equation (lines) as a function of the potential U (t = 2.8 eV, Δ = 0.1 t, R: 25 times the C-C atom distance). (c) The density of states of the bound states within the gap in the presence of random on-site disorder. The sharp peaks broaden and finally disappear with increasing disorder strength.

Graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice, offers a number of intriguing electronic properties and prospects for precision metrology. Graphene’s peculiarity is that the conduction electrons behave like massless relativistic particles, where the Fermi velocity plays the role of the speed of light in relativistic kinematics. Unfortunately, there is no energy gap analogous to that in conventional semiconductors, which poses problems for practical applications. In particular, the confinement of carriers in electrostatic quantum dots created by external gates is not practicable, because the occurrence of true bound states is affected by the Klein tunneling mechanism. Conceptually, the simplest way to open an energy gap has to do with the fact that the hexagonal lattice is made out of two interpenetrating triangular sub-lattices. If graphene is deposited onto a specific substrate that generates an electrostatic potential that is different for the two sub-lattices, a gap is opened in the spectrum. Such a breaking of the sub-lattice symmetry, detected in graphene grown epitaxially on SiC, has previously been shown to produce a gap of about 0.26 eV.

Recently, the bound states and the transport through an electrostatically confined circular graphene quantum dot were investigated in the presence of this sub-lattice symmetry breaking (Figure a). There are two ways to describe the electrons in graphene: one is the Tight-Binding lattice model. The other is the continuum model described by an effective Dirac equation for massless relativistic particles of graphene, which is valid in the low energy regime. One finds that for perfectly ordered systems the results from the two models compare well as long as the radius of the circular quantum dot is much larger than the lattice constant (Figure b).

Subsequently, the influence of different types of disorder on the quantum dot’s spectral and transport properties was examined. For example, in the case of random on-site disorder that can be due to adsorbed atoms, as well as ripples and corrugations modeled via a random magnetic flux, the peaks in the density of states corresponding to the bound states of the quantum dot are quickly broadened and disappear already for small increases of the disorder strength (Figure c). On the contrary, edge disorder due to random saturation of the dangling bonds along the edges of the graphene sheet does not broaden the bound states of the quantum dot, making such systems well suited for experimental spectroscopic studies. Additionally, in the case of quantum dots with smooth edges, the electronic bound states linearly shift to smaller energies when the slope of the quantum dot wall decreases. Hence, the graphene quantum dots should be fabricated as steeply and as cleanly as possible to be suited for experimental investigations.

Advisory Board

The 62nd Meeting of the “Kuratorium” (Advisory Board) of PTB

PTB’s Kuratorium held its annual meeting on 26th and 27th May 2011 in Braunschweig. The President of PTB, Professor Dr. Ernst O. Göbel, welcomed the members of the Kuratorium and guests, who had the opportunity to tour the laboratories and facilities of PTB after the meeting.

On the afternoon of 26 May, a scientific colloquium was held in which young scientists presented current research achievements from the fields “Radiation protection dosimetry with pulsed photon fields”, “Sphere interferometry” and “Redefinition of the kelvin”. Afterwards, the members of the Kuratorium had discussions in the departments on the technical and strategic aspects of the work.

The Vice-President of the Kuratorium, Prof. Dr. Klaus von Klitzing, with a silicon single-crystal, which serves to determine the Avogadro constant.

The President of the Kuratorium, Dr. Sven Halldorn, opened the meeting of the Kuratorium on 27 May 2011. In his speech, he congratulated PTB for the especially positive emphasis given in the comments made by the German Council of Science and Humanities on its departmental research in November 2010. He assured PTB of the support of the Ministry for the improvement of the framework conditions for its scientific work and for the increased flexibilization of the administrative requirements. Mr. Halldorn observed that PTB participates significantly in the innovation policy, which encompasses, e.g., conversion of the energy supply. The importance of PTB in the area of standardization continues to be high and is apparent in the successful participation in funding programs such as, for example, the excellence initiative.


Professor Dr. Ernst O. Göbel followed with a report on the work of PTB during the last year and on the further goals. First, he presented the progress made towards a redefinition of the base units. To accomplish this, a concentration of diverse competencies is needed at one location, which is practically only available at PTB. Besides the development of the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP), Prof. Göbel also addressed the positive developments in the services sector. Thus, following the internationalization of the instrument approvals by the European Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) and thus the abolishment of PTB’s monopoly on type approvals, an increase in conformity assessments has been observed, an indication of the value of PTB approvals. Prof. Göbel also presented in detail the results and effects of the internal task critique at the beginning of 2011. As a result of the continuous reduction in staff, PTB is forced to make cuts in fields which have a high development potential.

Against the background of the Kuratorium meeting, Friedel Eggelmeyer, department head in the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – BMZ), and Prof. Göbel signed an agreement on the further advancement of projects of Technical Cooperation in the metrological field. The BMZ showed its appreciation of the cooperation in a memorandum: “With the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Germany has available today, as sole bilateral donor, an internationally recognized specialized institution which conducts consulting services for us in the area of quality infrastructure. The agreement reflects the mutual esteem and is to ensure a stable cooperation for the next years.”

Personal matters:
Dr. Axel Anderlohr and Prof. Dr. Hans Schuler are retiring from the Kuratorium.

Group photo of PTB’s Kuratorium 2011

Presidential Board

Visit from State Secretary Hintze

On 22 June 2011, Parliamentary State Secretary Peter Hintze from the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology – BMWi) and Ms. Carola Reimann (MdB) visited PTB.

Within the scope of a discussion with the Presidential Board and of laboratory tours, it was their desire to gather information about PTB’s research and services. In addition to this, they also had an open ear for current affairs of PTB, including, above all, the participation in the Wissenschaftsfreiheitsinitiative (Freedom of Sciences Initiative) and the waiving for PTB of the transfer of the real estate property to the Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben (Institute for Federal Real Estate – BImA).

Mr. Hintze was very impressed with PTB’s instruments and research activities and confirmed the prominent position of PTB among the institutes conducting departmental research.

State Secretary Peter Hintze with Professor Dr. Göbel, Dr. Carola Reimann and Dr. Uwe Sterr (from left to right) in the strontium optical lattice clock laboratory.

Completion of PTB’s new seminar centre

Since autumn 2011, PTB has a new seminar centre which accommodates up to 120 people. This centre is harmoniously annexed to the auditorium complex in the Kohlrausch Building. The options for organizing meetings and workshops at PTB are thus considerably improved, as the centre also offers ample floor space for posters or exhibitions.

The seminar area is designed to be divided into smaller areas, so that parallel events are possible. The rooms are equipped with stateof- the-art technology, which facilitates, for example, multiple projections and video transmissions.

The centre has already been used for various events and fully meets all expectations. It is anticipated that the new building will promote and stimulate the communication of PTB with its cooperation partners in science and the economy.

Southern view of the newly constructed seminar

Quality Management

Self-declaration on quality management

For 20 years now, PTB has been operating an integrated quality management system which encompasses the main activities „Research and Development“, „Measurements“, and the „Rendering of Advice“ in the four intertwined fields of business „Fundamentals of Metrology“, „Metrology for Economy“, „Metrology for Society“ and „International Affairs“. With this quality management system, the requirements laid down in ISO/IEC 17025 – and thus the principles of ISO 9001 and, where applicable, the standards of series EN 45000 and/or ISO/ IEC 17000 and of ISO Guide 34 – are complied with. Furthermore, the recommendations of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation – DFG) for good scientific practice1) have been integrated into the quality management (QM) system. The QM system is subject to an annual self-assessment process („review“) which is based on a comprehensive internal audit programme whose aim is to improve and maintain the high quality of PTB‘s services and performance. This audit programme is supported by international experts within the scope of EURAMET Project 1083. As a result of this process, a self-declaration on quality management2) was signed by PTB‘s president for the first time in November 2010 in which PTB‘s basic principles of quality management are outlined. This self-declaration has been published in German and English and is available on the Internet.


1) http://www.ptb.de/cms/fileadmin/internet/die_ptb/praesidialer_stab/empfehlung_wiss_praxis_0198.pdf
2) http://www.ptb.de/cms/fileadmin/internet/die_ptb/praesidialer_stab/scan_selbsterklaerung_2010.pdf

50th meeting of PTB’s Quality Management Committee (A-QM)

It is now more than 10 years ago that the internationally accepted requirements for the activities of calibration and testing laboratories were laid down in an international standard. This standard was to become the basis of a comprehensive re-orientation of PTB’s quality management system. In order to introduce this quality management system on the basis of ISO/IEC 17025, first of all a project was created which embraced all the divisions of PTB. At the same time, a “Quality Management Committee” (A-QM) was founded as a body to steer and control quality management within PTB. The first meeting of this committee took place on 13 July 1999.

This was the starting point of extensive stocktaking, followed by an intensive phase in which the quality management system was set up. This development took place against the background of CIPM MRA1), and it was characterized by the willingness to integrate all fields of activity of PTB (i.e. PTB’s four intertwined fields of business – “Fundamentals of Metrology”, “Metrology for the Economy”, “Metrology for Society” and “International Affairs”) into the quality system. The aim was to achieve that, throughout PTB, as few things as possible should be regulated, formalism should be reduced and technical aspects should be regulated as closely to practice as possible. Prof. Dr. Kühne, who was one of the project managers at that time, contributed significantly to the success PTB’s quality management system has today. On the occasion of the 50th meeting of the A-QM, Prof. Dr. Kühne – who is now Director of the BIPM in Paris – visited PTB and informed the Quality Managers, the Heads of the Divisions/Bodies and the Presidential Board of PTB about the current developments, opportunities and challenges resulting from the CIPM MRA for the national and the international quality infrastructure – from the perspective of the BIPM. In a lively debate, the following issues were discussed: the development of the review process within the scope of the CIPM MRA, and the significance the confirmation of competence has for metrological laboratories. A lecture by Dr. Ulbig on the tasks, the structure and the aims of the new German calibration service Deutscher Kalibrierdienst (DKD) as a technical committee within PTB rounded this discussion off.


1) http://www.bipm.org/en/cipm-mra/

Legal Metrology

Amendments of the Verification Act and the Verification Ordinance

The Verification Act of 23 March 1992 was amended by the “Law on implementing the Directive on Services in the Verification Act and in the Consumer Product Safety Act and on the amendments to the Administrative Costs Act, the Energy Industry Act and the Power Grid Expansion Act” of 7 March 2011 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 338). Through this law, the Verification Act was adapted to the requirements of Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (Official Journal L 376 of 27 December 2006, p. 36). This applies to the provisions of Art. 10 regarding operators of public weighing machines. These provisions are no longer compatible with the freedom of establishment and with the freedom to provide services stipulated in the Directive on Services. Further details are laid down in the Verification Ordinance.

The provisions regarding public weighing machines in Art. 10 of the Verification Ordinance were changed by the Fifth Ordinance for the amendment of the Verification Ordinance of 6 June 2011 (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1035). The weighing instrument “public weighing machine” remains unaltered; the regulations concerning the “public appointment” of the operator were, however, replaced by requirements for the “operator” and the “operating staff”. The EU provisions concerning certificates of training and of proficiency acquired abroad were included. “Certification by means of an official stamp” was replaced by “Certification by signature of the weighing result”. The official surveillance of public weighing machines remains unaltered. Furthermore, in order to anticipate a time-consuming new regulation of the legislation on measurements, weights and measures, provisions which were no longer necessary were deleted, inconsistencies were corrected and new EU provisions were implemented. This concerns, in particular, the correction of the beginning of the validity period of verification for measuring instruments according to the MID, which also starts after the expiry of the calendar year. Also, the regulations for a period of validity of less than a year have been laid down in detail now. The deviating validity period of verification for new gas meter categories has been included in Annex B, and the references to EU directives and provisions have been adapted. The exceptions which exist for odometers in hire vehicles have been extended, and vehicles for self-drive hire are now completely exempt from mandatory verification. The conditions for the exemption of instrument transformers were extended to 110 kV transmission grids.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament on the implementation of the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) 2004/22/EC and the repeal of Old Approach EEC Directives

In its report to the European Parliament, the Commission recommends, after an exhaustive procedure of public consultation, not modifying the MID yet. It justifies its recommendation with the fact that, in spite of useful suggestions for new proposals, there is still no concrete reason to think that essential points are lacking in the MID. In the Commission’s opinion, it is too early to amend the MID – after only 4.5 years of application. Any further amendments that go beyond the technical adjustments permitted by the Measuring Instruments Committee (Art. 16: maximum permissible errors, accuracy classes, rated operating conditions, disturbances) could evoke a regulatory shift and uncertainty in the market. As far as the technically complex and detailed proposals for amendments are concerned, the Commission points out that the possibilities which the existing standards and directives offer have not been fully exploited yet. The full report can be downloaded as COM/2011/357/FINAL at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/index_en.htm following the path: “Industry sectors” > “Legal metrology and pre-packaging” > “Measuring instruments” > “Report on MID”. The Commission currently sees the following priorities as a result of the consultation procedure:

  • Introduce the new legislative framework (Decision No. 768/2008/EC) into the MID (omnibus procedure).
  • Enhance information, cooperation and guidance to notified bodies and authorities with the aim of ensuring a coherent application of the Directive.
  • Coordinate market surveillance notably in the form of common actions in order to more efficiently apply resources which are available for market surveillance.
  • Aid stakeholders in establishing guidelines
  • Impact-assess any suggestions for new proposals with stakeholders in line with smart regulation in the EU (http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/smart-regulation/index_en.htm).

Repeal of the still existing Old Approach EEC Directives

In view of the results of the procedure of public consultation, the Commission saw no reason for maintaining the still existing EEC directives or for including the instrument categories or measurement procedures concerned (weights, measuring of ship tanks, mass of grain, cold water meters for waste water, evidential breath analyzers and hydrometers for alcohol, tyre pressure gauges) in the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID). Through Directive 2001/17/ EU, the repeal of the EEC directive for the measuring of ship tanks has meanwhile been enacted as of 1 July 2011, and the repeal of the other directives is to come into effect as of 1 December 2015.

Technical Cooperation

Quality infrastructure for the supply of drinking water

For all human beings, water – especially drinking water – is both, an essential resource and a source of nutrition. In many regions of the world, water has always been scarce, whereas in other regions, its availability is constantly decreasing due to changing climatic conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) attributes 80 % of all diseases in developing countries to a poor water supply and to poor basic sanitation, as well as to a lack of education in matters of hygiene. Especially for children, these diseases are often lethal. The aim of the 7th Millennium Development Goal is to „halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.“ For all these reasons, it is of essential importance to handle this scarce resource responsibly and to ensure its quality. This still represents a great challenge for developing countries and countries in transition worldwide, which is also reflected by the commitment of the German and international development cooperation.

With regard to water, PTB is currently carrying out two cooperation projects which are aimed at supporting the quality infrastructure for the supply of drinking water in two South American countries: Bolivia and Peru. The objective of these projects is to strengthen the national stakeholders, in order to contribute to a better surveillance of drinking water and to increase the efficiency of its distribution. In this context, two issues take main priority: measuring the consumption of water and controlling its quality.

PTB is cooperating, in particular, with the national metrology institutes and the accreditation bodies of these two countries with the aim of setting up and strengthening services that are of vital importance for the water sector. These services range from the calibration of measuring instruments (e.g. reference water meters) and the production and certification of chemical reference materials, to the organization of interlaboratory comparisons and the accreditation of testing laboratories. In addition, the connections between the stakeholders of the quality infrastructure and those of the water sector (consumers, political decision-makers, supervisory authorities, water utilities and laboratories for water analysis) are strengthened. In this way, the existing spectrum of services can be used more effectively, and its expansion will take the increasing needs better into account.

All this is achieved by means of consultancy, the education and training of staff, organizing seminars as well as informational and educational events, acquiring equipment, developing an infrastructure of laboratories, and supporting comparison measurements and interlaboratory comparisons. Experts from different departments of PTB, but also external experts, e.g. the staff of water utilities, are involved in these activities.

The success of this cooperation can be documented by the following examples:

Peru‘s national metrology institute is now equipped with a flow laboratory which can calibrate water meters up to a nominal diameter of 150 mm at flowrates up to 120 m³/h with international traceability. Furthermore, Peruvian metrologists have been enabled to perform type approvals according to OIML R-49. With these calibration capabilities, the measurement uncertainty of the existing water meters can be checked over several years; thus, it has become possible to monitor the consumption and the water losses more effectively and to strengthen confidence in the measuring and billing of water consumption. In a type approval, tests are made as to whether the design and the properties of a water meter comply with the provisions that are currently valid. Once a type approval has been issued, it is no longer necessary to obtain an approval for each single water meter.

The metrology institutes of Peru and Bolivia are now qualified to offer the first nationally produced reference materials for basic parameters of drinking water analysis. Reference materials are used to ensure traceability and therefore the trustworthiness of measurements and analyses. In Bolivia, interlaboratory comparisons for drinking water analysis were successfully organized in 2010 and 2011 with the support of PTB; the participation of more than 50 laboratories was achieved. Interlaboratory comparisons allow the participants to give proof of their competence and to detect their weaknesses. Due to these comparisons, and due to an extended offer of training courses, the number of accredited water laboratories has increased in both countries.

Despite this progress, both Bolivia and Peru are still facing great difficulties in providing safe drinking water 24 hours a day for an ever growing part of their population. Traceable measurements and analyses whose trustworthiness is guaranteed by means of a quality management system will certainly play an important role also in the future.

From the development policy point of view, it is of crucial importance that the improvement in the quality of the drinking water supply effectively goes hand in hand with an improvement in the quality of life as well as with a reduction of diseases and, ultimately, also of poverty. Furthermore, it can be ensured that the precious resource „water“ is used in a responsible way. Responsible water management is becoming an ever increasing challenge in both South American countries, not only from an economical point of view for the water utilities, but also against the background of melting glaciers and diminishing precipitation.

Drinking water plant in Arequipa, Peru

Press and Information Office

In time with time

While searching for interesting places for special concert experiences, the Niedersächsische Musiktage des Jahres 2011 (“The 2011 Music Festival of Lower Saxony”) found what they were looking for at PTB. Since the motto of the music festival this year was “time”, PTB suggested itself. So on 24 September 2011, the spacious institute premises in Braunschweig were transformed into a special kind of musical fun house. In one long night, the audience experienced six different programme points at different places. Everything always centred on the phenomenon of “time”, beginning with a live experiment on one’s own perception of time (with music “ticking” at different tempi), continuing with ten shortest compositions for saxophone quartet in the length of the current 100-metre world record, and then on to the Spanish ensemble “Companyia la tal”, which staged a puppet show in the style of the Commedia dell’Arte in the midst of a large clock setup. Also in the programme: 100 metronomes ticking at different tempi, the “Bach, Blech und Blues” ensemble and the “Ensemble Officium” choir with “timeless” medieval songs, which performed at an exceptional place: in a cathedral-like room of the former PTB research reactor. Altogether, an evening which will remain a memorable experience for all participants and all guests (this, too, is a “time effect”).