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PTB Annual Report 2018


For worldwide metrology in general, and for PTB in particular, the year 2018 was an extraordinary year. The long-planned, very far-reaching and fundamental revision of the International System of Units has been achieved. This is a scientific, technological, and also a diplomatic success that is outstanding in the history of the Metre Convention. As a result, the metrology community faces an unprecedented resonance not only in science, but also in politics, in the media and in education. One can say that in all of these fields, we have “reached the top” of the attention scale. For example in science: the field of metrology is currently experiencing increasing attention in scientific journals and at national and international conferences and meetings – something that has been rather unusual so far. Or in politics: German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not miss the opportunity to bring up the revolution in the System of Units at the World Economic Forum in Davos and to use it as a model for worldwide, cooperative collaboration toward a common goal. Or, for example, in the media: From the most prominent German tabloid, the “BILDZeitung”, to the New York Times, the revision of the SI and especially the redefinition of the kilogram were a big topic. Catchword “education”: school and textbook publishers as well as the Ministries of Education of the German Federal States, the Federal Education Authorities and the hosts of teachers’ training courses have also recognized the new SI as an important school subject.


We, as PTB, and therefore you as scientists, engineers and technicians in the laboratories, as managers at desks, as public relations and communications experts, as lawyers, quality managers and technical assistants, as employees with administrative, infrastructural and all cross-sectional tasks, have contributed to this success. I personally offer my sincerest thanks to you for that. It is with your help that PTB has reached the position where it belongs – at the top!

The success that we have achieved in connection with the new SI is based on excellent performance. But anyone who takes a look around PTB can also find excellent work and top-notch success in many other fields. If we ask how far PTB and the field of metrology are embedded in Germany’s university landscape, we get impressive examples: numerous young scientist groups have come into being; there are joint appointments of professors in Braunschweig as well as in Berlin; clusters that are supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) with the participation of PTB within the scope of the Excellence Initiative (especially “QuantumFrontiers”). In this cluster, we are cooperating with the Leibniz Universität Hannover and the Technical University of Braunschweig in the topics of quantum technology and nanotechnology – a preliminary success that will bear fruit during the next years.

As far as we can tell today, we are well-prepared for the next years – especially because we are already proactively taking on the metrology topics that will arise in the future. Here I'm thinking, for example, of the field of quantum technologies, which is strongly supported in Europe and worldwide (and also at PTB, as you can see from the fact that the starting signal for our Quantum Technology Center has been given), and of the broad field of biotechnology. I'm also thinking of the numerous facets of the energy transition here, with our Competence Center for Wind Energy (for which we are currently constructing the world’s largest machine for measuring torque) and with the new Competence Center for Photovoltaics (which has been applied for and which is the world leader in characterization of solar cells). I am also thinking of the great topic of mobility; we are taking up the metrological aspects of this topic, for example, for the certification of electric charging stations, for battery research, or with our laboratory for emissions measurements (this was planned and built – and its operation started – in record time!). And of course, digitalization, which is pervasive in all areas, is one of these increasingly important fields, including topics such as Smart Meter Gateway for the energy transition. We have approached all these futureoriented topics with prudence and great momentum, as we are very aware of the responsibility metrology has for science, industry and society.

The future always signifies a challenge. And we are ready to cope with this challenge – at least for what we can anticipate today. Presently, PTB is viewed with much esteem. Esteem for us as a research-intensive cooperation partner for industry, for the universities and for the metrology institutes worldwide. Esteem for us as a competent service provider with our metrological know-how – above all for German industry. And esteem for us as a major supporter of many countries of the world that would like to set up their metrological infrastructure using our knowledgeable help.

“Esteem for PTB”, of course, not only means for PTB as a whole, but also for the work and tremendous dedication of all of PTB’s employees. I gladly and unreservedly endorse this esteem and would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you once again for an outstandingly successful year. We can all be proud of what we have achieved!

Prof. Dr. Joachim Ullrich
President of PTB

Printversion des Jahresberichts

Aus den Abteilungen

Aus den AbteilungenAus den Abteilungen

Mechanik und Akustik (Abteilung 1)

Elektrizität (Abteilung 2)

Chemische Physik und Explosionsschutz (Abteilung 3)

Optik (Abteilung 4)

Fertigungsmesstechnik (Abteilung 5)

Ionisierende Strahlung (Abteilung 6)

Temperatur und Synchrotronstrahlung (Abteilung 7)

Medizinphysik und metrologische Informationstechnik (Abteilung 8)