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Archive of PTB News

PTB-News 2.2017PTB-News 2.2017

PTB has succeeded in measuring the Boltzmann constant k independently. A fundamental condition laid down by the Consultative Committee for Thermometry (CCT) has thereby been met, so that all obstacles to the redefinition of the kelvin have been removed by fixing the value of the Boltzmann constant. The final measurements of k with a dielectric-constant gas thermometer were conducted with a...

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In the case of blood samples with pathologically modified blood cells, the hemolysis and staining methods used in routine diagnostics can lead to the wrong identification of certain cell populations or to an inaccurate determination of their concentration. In contrast to this, an AC impedance procedure, which was developed at PTB, allows whole blood samples to be analyzed without disturbing...

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Since the beginning of this year, the DFG has been promoting the establishment and operation of the Core Facility “Metrology of Ultra-Low Magnetic Fields” at PTB. In this way, PTB grants external scientists from universities, international metrology institutes and companies access to its know-how and its equipment for the measurement of extremely small magnetic fields which is unique worldwide.

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For many years, PTB has been leading in the development of current sensors on the basis of SQUIDs (Superconducting QUantum Interference Devices). Now, PTB's SQUID current sensors are used successfully as essential components of superconducting microcalorimeters to characterize novel single-photon emitters and microlasers for quantum optics.

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PTB has topped its own world record established a year ago where electric currents were generated with singleelectron pumps and their quantization was verified with the greatest accuracy by means of a special measuring amplifier. The new record (which was made possible by improving the experimental setup) is a relative measurement uncertainty of only 0.16 μA/A. Moreover, this result was achieved...

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Within the scope of a BMBF project, high-speed measurements with piezoresistive microprobes were investigated. Hereby, scanning speeds of up to 15 mm/s were successfully tested. An essential aspect of the investigations was the wear of the tip.

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To measure medium-sized forces (of approx. 10 kN) up to very high forces (higher than 10 MN), several calibrated force transducers can be connected to obtain a build-up measuring system. Due to increasing requirements, especially in the field of very large force transducers up to 50 MN, reducing the measurement uncertainty of these systems is gaining more and more importance. Due to its special...

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At PTB, a manufacturing procedure for monolayer graphene has been developed to produce a quantum standard for the electric unit of resistance. Thanks to its reliability and simplicity, this enhanced multi-step sublimation method allows the production of large-scale graphene structures. This also paves the way for the mass production of qualitatively highend monolayer graphene films. The produced...

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Ultrasound is used as a therapeutic modality in medicine for various applications including the removal of kidney stones or tumors. A new procedure developed by PTB now allows a traceable spatial calibration of, e.g., high-intensity therapeutic ultrasonic equipment. Based on thermochromic foils which change color in the event of heating induced by ultrasound, it is possible to determine...

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Awards

Jan Wernecke was awarded the 2016 Ernst Eckhard Koch Prize of the Freundeskreis Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin at the Technische Universität Berlin for his doctoral thesis entitled “When size does matter: Dimensional metrology of nanostructured layers and surfaces using Xrays”. This paper was developed in the X-ray Radiometry Working Group at the BESSY II electron storage ring in Berlin.

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Within the scope of the Collaborative Research Centre “Designed Quantum States of Matter” (DQ-Mat), with approx. 10 million euros of funding provided by the DFG, researchers from Leibniz University Hannover, from the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) in Bremen and from PTB in Braunschweig have been collaborating to exploit special quantum-mechanical properties of...

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PTB's Department 8.5, “Metrological Information Technology”, has been accepted as a member of the faculty of the Helmholtz Research School on Security Technologies (HRSST). This is a joint program of the Technische Universität Berlin and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) which was initiated in 2010 and supports, among others, excellent doctoral candidates who deal with research on a secure and...

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euspen

Die European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology (euspen) veranstaltet einmal im Jahr an wechselnden Orten in Europa eine internationale Fachkonferenz mit Industrieausstellung, die als Forum für den Austausch über Innovationen, Forschung und Entwicklungen im Bereich der Präzisionsmess- und Fertigungstechnik dient. In diesem Jahr findet die Konferenz vom 29.5 bis 2.6 in...

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The International System of Units (SI) is being fundamentally reformed. In the fall of 2018, a large international conference is going to set the historical course for the future of the SI. The new SI will be based on fundamental constants instead of the seven base units as previously. PTB has accompanied this process by means of various large-scale research projects – among others the Avogadro...

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PTB-News 1.2017PTB-News 1.2017

In order to become independent of the international prototype of the kilogram kept in Paris, the definition of the SI unit of mass, the kilogram, has to be revised. For this purpose, the number of silicon atoms in a monocrystalline silicon sphere has been determined at PTB within the scope of the Avogadro proj´ect. It is therefore necessary to measure the surface properties with the highest...

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In microsystems, metallic components are increasingly being replaced by those from low-cost polymers. For the thick-ness measurement of polymers, a DIN standard, DIN 32567, is now available which was developed, among others, by PTB experts. The standard describes both optical and tactile surface measuring methods for the precise measurement of the thickness of polymer layers. The tactile methods...

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Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) allows the non-invasive deter-mination of metabolites in the human brain in vivo. However, it is usually limited to rectangular volumes. This makes it difficult to quantify the metabolites selectively in a certain cerebral structure in order to establish a precise neurochemical profile of this structure. A new pulse sequence combined with a multichannel...

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Today, spectral color measurements are indispensable in numerous areas of science and industry. In the printing industry, for example, clear color definitions and exact color repetitions are necessary. The procedures used to date, however, only provide random and locally limited results – and some require a large amount of time and effort. Within the scope of a joint project with the Chromasens...

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At PTB, a novel calibration system for autocollimators has been set up, the Spatial Angle Autocollimator Calibrator. The calibration capabilities for optical angle measurements have thus been extended from plane to spatial angles for the first time. In addition, the system allows calibrations at distances from 250 mm to 1800 mm.

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The cooperation project with Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH in the field of radiometry, which started back in 1998, has been prolonged until the end of 2020. At PTB, this cooperation project represents the starting point and the basis of a field of work which provides extensive metrological support to the German and the European semiconductor industry for the development of EUV lithography. Besides EUV...

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At PTB, a novel manufacturing procedure based on (111)-silicon wafers al-lows areas with dimensions of up to 150  µm² to be generated which exhibit both atomically smooth surfaces and surfaces with monoatomic steps. In this procedure, a self-organizing process is triggered by using a targeted heating process under ultra-high vacuum within several lithographically structured patterns. The...

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Whether you are a high-end music connoisseur in your living room or a record-ing engineer in your recording studio, you both know them well – the location-dependent low-resonance frequencies which can be extremely unpleasant when listening to music. Low-frequency noise originating from machines can be similarly amplified in industrial locations due to room resonances. With PTB's invention – a...

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In conventional superconducting gravimeters, a test mass is levitated by the magnetic field of a superconducting coil. An elaborate adjustment allows the gravity of the earth to be measured at geographical locations by means of this measurement principle. PTB's new invention is based on an alternative geometry of the magnetic field and thus contains a new test mass in the form of a double cone. In...

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Awards

Roman SchwartzRoman Schwartz,
Vice-President of PTB, was confirmed in his office as the “CIML First Vice-President” (CIML: International Committee of Legal Metrology) and reelected for another six years at the 51st CIML session in Strasbourg.

Raya Roshana GallasRaya Roshana Gallas
This staff member of Department 6.2, “Dosimetry for Radiation Therapy and X-ray Diagnostic Radiology”, was awarded the Otto Haxel Prize of Heidelberg...

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As part of the Federal Government's “Nanotechnologies Action Plan 2020”, the federal authorities responsible for human and environmental safety have extended their joint research strategy.

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The scientific exchange between PTB and its Argentinian partner institute, Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Industriel (INTI), is growing closer.

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This year again, students are invited to take part in topical projects of PTB under the slogan “Dein genauester Sommer” (Your most accurate summer) from 1 August until 30 September 2017.

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Summer School

This year, PTB and Braunschweig Technical University will again offer an international summer school which will be funded by the Helmholtz Fund.

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EMRP/EMPIR

In 2017, there will be calls for papers on the following topics for new EMPIR projects: TP Industry, TP Fundamental, TP Normative, and TP Research Potential.

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PTB News 3.2016PTB News 3.2016

In the past few years, optical atomic clocks have made spectacular progress. They have become 100 times more precise than the best cesium clocks. So far, their precision has been available only locally, since frequency transfer via satellite cannot provide sufficient resolution. This has now changed thanks to a novel 1,400 km optical fiber link between Braunschweig and Paris. This link allows...

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The decisive factor for increasing the energy efficiency of thermal power plants is to reduce the measurement uncertainty of the hot water volume flow rate measurement. The current uncertainty of approx. 2 % is not sufficient to optimize the control of power plants, which limits their efficiency. For this reason, PTB has developed a laser optical volume flow measurement standard (LVN) which allows...

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When transplanting stem cells, the dose is a decisive factor. To improve the determination of the dose by the measurement of the required concentration of viable stem cells, PTB has developed a reference procedure. It has been applied for the first time for comparison with results of the two methods that are currently used.

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Conventional measurement procedures for determining the performance of solar cells make it difficult to obtain yield forecasts under real operating conditions. By means of a novel measuring setup which uses a laser-based spectral measurement procedure, PTB researchers have successfully characterized solar cells comprehensively enough that their yield can be calculated for any given climatic...

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At PTB, a procedure has been developed for the calibration of microphones in the ultrasound range of up to 100 kHz. By means of this procedure, reference standards and working standards can be produced for laboratories in industry and research in order to ensure the traceability of airborne ultrasound. This new calibration service is now available.

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Within the scope of the Avogadro project for the redefinition of the kilogram and of the mole, PTB has developed mathematical and experimental methods to measure extremely accurate and traceable isotope ratios. These very procedures had a decisive influence on the development of three magnesium isotope reference materials which BAM – Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Germany,...

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Ultraprecise spheres exhibit form errors and roughness in the nanometer range. Their crystal surfaces are free of metallic contaminations and show no crystal structure damage. These properties place extremely high requirements on their manufacturing process. Through the use of a PTB invention, it is possible to produce spheres with small form errors (on the order of 20 nm) in a reproducible manner...

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Pulsed radiation fields are used increasingly in novel medical accelerators and in fundamental research. Due to the high counting rate and detector saturation, radiation protection is confronted with new challenges. PTB's dosemeter is the first electronic radiation meter ensuring high metrological quality via high isotropy and low dead time for pulsed neutron fields. It consists of four silicon...

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Free-standing thin membranes are used in numerous scientific and industrial contexts. The thickness of these membranes is often highly relevant for their pertinent function. PTB's new measurement device allows a quick and very accurate determination of the membrane thickness. For this purpose, the membrane is contacted from both sides. By integrating two fiber interferometers into the...

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Awards

Harry Stolz Harry Stolz
the Managing Director of PTB’s Conformity Assessment Body, was elected the new chairman of NoBoMet on 20 April 2016. NoBoMet (Notified Bodies in Metrology) is the European coordination group of notified bodies for the European Directives for Measuring Instruments (2014/32/EU) and for non-automatic weighing instruments (2014/31/EU).

Wolf Fabian Fabian Wolf
a staff member of the QUEST...

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PTB News 2.2016PTB News 2.2016

With two clocks that are currently the best worldwide in terms of accuracy and stability, respectively, PTB is well-prepared for future tasks in fields such as fundamental physics where such clocks are necessary to detect possible changes in fundamental constants.

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Space telescopes such as the infrared observatory Herschel of the European Space Agency (ESA) observe radiation in the far infrared. In this context, it is of vital importance that the instruments are cooled so that they do not emit disturbing infrared radiation. The mirrors of these telescopes, which are used at temperatures below –190 °C, are made of special, ultrastable ceramics. In a...

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At PTB, the output voltage of a pulsedriven AC Josephson voltage standard has been significantly increased by using triple-stacked Josephson junctions, and by series connection of eight circuits with a total of 63 000 junctions; where previously obtained maximum output voltages were around an effective value of 300 mV, a standard value of 1 volt (important for metrological applications) has now...

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PTB researchers have measured the magnetic signals generated by the heart activity of the unborn child of a pregnant woman by using optical magnetic field sensors on her abdomen. They have demonstrated that the technology developed by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) measures as reliably as other methods, and that it can even provide additional information. This might...

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So far, the metrological characterization of alpha emitters has only been offered by a small number of national metrology institutes, as the manufacturing of the sources and characterizing measurement technology are very laborious. The determination of the activity of open alpha particle emitting sources has now been included in PTB’s range of services. As of now, such activity standards can be...

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Awards

Frank Härtig

In January, the head of Division 1 (Mechanics and Acoustics) was made an honorary professor by the Institute of Ultra-precision Optoelectronic Instrument Engineering of the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), a university in Harbin, China, based on his work in the field of metrology and his pioneering developments in the field of traceability of metrological algorithms.

Harald...

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Since 1 April 2016, Andrey Surzhykov has held the position of W3 Professor for Fundamental Physics of Metrology. This was preceded by a joint professorial appointment by PTB together with TU Braunschweig. One focus of Surzhykov’s work is the relativistic theory of atomic systems in order to find new approaches to testing fundamental constants and new approaches to inspecting the standard model of...

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PTB News 1.2016PTB News 1.2016

The QUEST Institute at PTB has, for the first time, succeeded in proving the quantum state of trapped and indirectly laser-cooled molecular ions without destroying the molecule itself or its internal state. In this way, quantum jumps which were induced by thermal environmental radiation could be observed directly in a single molecule, and a new form of spectroscopy could be demonstrated. The new...

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Single-electron pumps are promising candidates for the realization of a future quantum current standard, and are the subject of intensive metrological research. By means of a novel, high-precision current amplifier, PTB researchers have succeeded in proving the quantization of a current of 100 pA supplied by a single-electron pump with an accuracy which had previously been unattained: within the...

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A new measurement method developed at PTB has been included in the updated version of the international series of standards IEC 61331. For the staff and the patients in medical X-ray diagnosis and nuclear medicine, the application of this standard, which has been elaborated under the leadership of PTB, represents a considerable improvement in radiation protection.

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New measurements performed with PTB's dielectric-constant gas thermometer have yielded a value of 1.3806509 ⋅ 10–23 J/K for the Boltzmann constant k. The measurement uncertainty was thereby reduced to 4 parts per million (4 ppm). The new value is within 1.5 ppm in agreement with the current CODATA value (CODATA – Committee on Data for Science and Technology). Reaching the final step towards the...

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The Wendelstein 7-X fusion experiment, which recently went into operation at the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik (IPP) in Greifswald, is intended to demonstrate the suitability of stellerator-type fusion facilities for the production of energy. At the end of 2015, a helium plasma was generated for the first time. Producing plasmas with deuterium, in which neutrons are generated by nuclear...

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Measuring instruments often use large standard operating systems as their underlying software. This often makes software testing difficult as such systems contain a large number of bugs. A new system architecture developed at PTB makes use of the advantages of standard operating systems – such as a higher degree of functionality, an established user interface and executable drivers – yet still...

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Awards

Manfred Peters
Prof. Manfred PetersThe former Vice President of PTB has been awarded the 2015 Ludwig Finkelstein Medal. With this distinction, the Institute of Measurement and Control, an internationally active organization of engineers which is headquartered in the United Kingdom, has honored his many years of substantial contributions to international metrology. The Institute further noted that Dr. Peters, whose...

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PTB News 3.2015PTB News 3.2015

The three-dimensional distribution of electrons inside molecules has been made visible for the first time by means of electron spectroscopy. For this purpose, molecules which were aligned on a metallic surface were irradiated with vacuum-ultraviolet radiation, and the angle and energy distribution of the electrons that were detached by the photoelectric effect was measured. This procedure, which...

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Within the scope of the European re-search project “Thermal design and dimensional drift” (T3D), various joining technologies have been investigated at PTB for the first time with regard to their long-term behavior and to their reaction to thermal influences with a precision of approx. 1 nm.

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Atomic xenon can be temporarily encapsulated in molecular cages. Scientists from PTB have discovered that the direct exchange of xenon guest atoms — without the usual transition via a temporarily emptied host molecule — plays an important role here. This process could be used in new biomedical analysis and imaging procedures.

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A measurement method developed at PTB offers the possibility of measuring the size of grating structures that are clearly smaller than the optical wavelength used. Such structures play an important role, for example, in developing novel, more efficient lens systems and in manufacturing modern nanoelectronic components lithographically; however, they cannot be measured by means of conventional...

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A standard for the dimensional calibration of Raman microscopes, which was developed at PTB, allows both lateral calibration of the scanning facility and determination of the optical resolution. The quantitative analysis of Raman mappings thus becomes traceable chemical surface analysis.

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By means of improved measurement procedures, PTB employees from the field of spectrometry with synchrotron radiation have succeeded – in cooperati-on with partners from industry – in experimentally confirming the different energy dependences of partial photoionization cross sections which could so far be predicted only by theoretic calculations. Due to this, the quantification approach of an...

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An MEMS-based nanoindentor, which was developed at PTB, allows simultaneous measurement of the indentation depth and of the indentation force. Tactile extraction of the indentation imprint is no longer necessary, which saves time. Due to the compact design and the possibility of precise mass production, it is possible to use a large number of sensors arranged in parallel. Since the MEMS can...

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In magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the motions of the heart, respiration or other movements of the patient may affect the imaging quality. This problem can be solved by simultaneous irradiation with ultra-wideband (UWB) radar signals. Together with the TU Ilmenau, PTB has developed a system of antennae which allows the UWB technology to be used in innovative ultra-high-field MRI. Thus, the...

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Vector network analyzers (VNA) which, in high-frequency technology, calibrate the transmission characteristics of active and passive components in the frequency range of micro- and millimeter waves, can now be calibrated faster thanks to a new method developed by PTB. Instead of working with calibrators of the identical connector system, as has been the case to date, different – but compatible –...

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Awards

Martin Kahmann

The Head of Department 2.3 “Electrical Energy Measuring Techniques” was awarded the DKE badge of honor for the numerous years he spent acting as a dedicated convener, spokesman, president and director of various subgroups of DKE and CEN as well as for his activities in favor of standardization at the national and the international levels.


Best Paper Award received by Thomas...

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PTB News 2.2015PTB News 2.2015

Are the fundamental constants really constant? Recent investigations carried out at PTB have shown that one essen-tial fundamental constant – namely the mass ratio of protons to electrons – can have changed only by a maximum of one part in a million over the age of our solar system (i.e. extrapolated over approx. 5 billion years). Previously, sci-entists deemed the possible changes to be twice as...

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The inner structure of technologically relevant polymer films in the nanometer range can, in principle, be easily investi-gated with scattering of synchrotron ra-diation in the X-ray range at wavelengths below 1 nm. The sensitivity of this meth-od is, however, often considerably limit-ed by additional scattering occurring at the boundary between the film and the substrate. In the PTB laboratory at...

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The particular properties of the two-di-mensional conductor material graphene can also be exploited in the case of the quantum Hall effect on which extremely precise calibrations of the electric DC resistance are based worldwide. Graphene is, in many aspects, superior to all previously used materials. Now PTB has shown that graphene exhibits excellent properties also in the case of AC...

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The piezoelectrically induced length change in functional materials has been measured at PTB for the first time at high temperatures and with lateral resolution. For this purpose, a new sample environment was created which can be integrated into the existing interferometer for precise length measurements.
 

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At PTB, the properties of diamond-coated probing spheres have been investigated for use with coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). The results show that using such probing spheres in CMMs, form measuring machines and also in contour measur-ing machines allows a considerable increase in the service life of the probing spheres as well as a reduction in the uncertainty of the measurements.

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A chopper-stabilized amplifier with excellent properties has been developed at PTB and is used in a measurement set-up for the Avogadro Project to measure voltage on thermocouples. This has led to a reduction in noise amplitude by a factor of 4.
 
 

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At PTB, a new statistical method has been developed to adjust inconsistent measurement data. Its advantages: more reliable results and a more realistic evaluation of the associated uncertainties. The procedure can, for example, be applied to determine fundamental constants.

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Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA) mea-sures the velocity in liquids optically – i.e. contact-free. A procedure developed at PTB to determine the position of the measuring volume considerably reduces the uncertainty of volume flow determi-nation when calibrating flow sensors by means of LDA. From the power of the backscattered laser light, the path of the interfering beams is reconstructed and the...

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Test equipment developed at PTB allows, for the first time, components and systems to be tested with regard to their electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) without needing a special stationary laboratory. The main characteristics of this equipment are its simple operation and short measuring times. Diverse carrier frequencies enable the simulation of practically all relevant emitters of...

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Lengths on screw threads, toothed gears or other components exhibiting gaps are often measured in double-flank contact. The gap measurement standard developed at PTB detects and corrects influences which are due to self-centering probing or to double-point contact and are frequently neglected. On a thermally invariant base plate, at least four precision spheres are placed which were calibrated...

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PTB News 1.2015PTB News 1.2015

In a new model for the formation of biological patterns, developed by mathematicians from PTB, cells are described as active porous and elastic materials. Simulations carried out using this model were able to reproduce experimentally wave patterns that had been observed in microdrops of the slime mould Physarum polycephalum and allow predictions for new experiments.

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The Avogadro constant and Planck's constant are the corner stones of the new system of units. The measurements with regard to these constants have been expedited within the scope of the international Avogadro Project; they are based on counting atoms in spheres made of pure silicon. A few months ago, Russian contracting laboratories supplied practically isotopically pure silicon so that the...

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Intercontinental comparisons of atomic clocks can, at present, only be realized with the aid of satellites. The measurement noise occurring hereby determines the measurement time required. To compare the optical strontium lattice clocks of PTB with those of the Japanese Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Tokyo, a new method with improved stability, developed by NICT,...

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The SPICE (SPectral Imaging of Coronal Environment) solar spectrometer is part of the Solar Orbiter mission of the European Space Agency whose start is planned for 2017. Within the scope of a research cooperation project which has been concluded with the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) and in cooperation with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in England, the SPICE...

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A profilometer, which was developed by PTB together with two cooperation partners, has allowed the inner surfaces of small nozzles with diameters in the micrometre range and a high aspect ratio to be successfully characterized for the first time.

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A handy picoamperemeter has been developed at PTB which is able to traceably measure extremely small currents with unprecedented accuracy. The Ultrastable Low-noise Current Amplifier (ULCA) exceeds the accuracy of previously available picoamperemeters by about two orders of magnitude.

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The introduction of the 450 mm technology for wafer production and the further scaling-down of critical dimensions require improved X-ray analytical methods. PTB has therefore designed a complementary metrology chamber to characterize 450 mm wafers; its core component is a multi-axis manipulator whose patent is pending. By spatially stacking all mobile components, this chamber allows several X-ray...

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Measuring outgassing rates of vacuum components reliably and quantitatively has become increasingly important over the past few years. With PTB's new reference outgassing sample, such outgassing rate measuring systems can be calibrated and traced back to a national standard. Thanks to its compact set-up, it can be used in a variety of scenarios. It provides a precisely known gas flow which is...

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How can highly sensitive optical fibres be introduced into vacuum vessels so that they can be rotated in the narrowest of spaces and displaced longitudinally? A new development by PTB helps solve this problem. It enables optical fibres to be positioned and subsequently adjusted. Hereby, leakages, which may occur in conventional designs, are minimized, the risk of cracking is reduced due to a...

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Auszeichnungen

Harald TelleHarald Telle
erhielt den 2014 I.I. Rabi Award für seine Pionierarbeiten bei der Anwendung optischer Frequenzkämme zur phasenkohärenten Frequenzmessung.

 

 

 

 

Franziska RennerFranziska Renner
Die Mitarbeiterin des Fachbereichs 6.2 Dosimetrie für Strahlentherapie und Röntgendiagnostik erhielt den Elekta-Preis der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Physik e. V. für ihre Arbeit „Benchmark experiment to verify...

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PTB News before 2014

PTB News before 2014PTB News before 2014