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Helmholtz Prize 2018 for electrical quantum metrology


The Helmholtz Prize 2018 in the category "Application" was awarded to a research team of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt. Dietmar Drung (Division 7), Martin Götz, Eckart Pesel and Hansjörg Scherer (all Division 2) received the prize, which is considered the most prestigious award in the field of metrology, for their groundbreaking improvements in the field of high-precision traceable measurement and generation of small electrical currents.



In a cross-divisional collaboration, novel methods and tools have been developed at the interface between research and practical application that allow the measurement and generation of small currents in the range between femto- (10-15 A) and microamps (10-6 A). The achieved accuracy exceeds that of previously available methods by up to a factor of 100. Specifically, a highly stable, non-cryogenic, and transportable measurement amplifier, the Ultrastable Low-Noise Current Amplifier (ULCA), was developed whose traceable calibration is achieved by a current comparator. Licensed by PTB, the ULCA is already manufactured and distributed by a small German company.

The new methods and devices not only improve and extend calibration and measurement capabilities in the field of small electrical currents at national metrology institutes, but also have found use already in industrial calibration laboratories.


Helmholtz Prize 2018 poster