Chapter 6

Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory



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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Chapter 6 Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 PANEL MEMBERS James E. Nottke, DuPont Company (retired), Chair Robert J. Eagan, Sandia National Laboratories, Vice Chair Robert L. Brown, The Gillette Company Stephen Z.D. Cheng, University of Akron James D. Idol, Jr., Rutgers University Lawrence C. Kravitz, Consultant, Rockville, Md. Frederick F. Lange, University of California, Santa Barbara Donald E. McLemore, Raychem Corporation Boyd A. Mueller, Howmet Corporation Donald R. Paul, University of Texas at Austin Dennis W. Readey, Colorado School of Mines Iwona Turlik, Motorola Corporation Manufacturing Research Center Walter L. Winterbottom, Alumax Engineered Metal Processes, Inc. Submitted for the panel by its Chair, James E. Nottke, this assessment of the fiscal year 1999 activities of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory is based on site visits by individual panel members, a formal meeting of the panel on March 4–5, 1999, in Gaithersburg, Md., and on the annual report of the laboratory.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 LABORATORY-LEVEL REVIEW Laboratory Mission The mission of the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL) of NIST is to stimulate the more effective production and use of materials by working with suppliers and users to assure the development and implementation of the measurements and standards infrastructure for materials. All programs reviewed by the panel are consistent with, and supportive of, the MSEL mission. The individual programs each have a goal of advancing measurement methods, producing new Standard Reference Materials (SRMs), or producing new SRD for U.S. suppliers and users of materials. The scope of the technical effort is appropriately limited in order to maintain a critical mass of effort targeted at the leading edge of the highest priority programs. The chosen areas of research complement, without duplicating, other national materials research efforts in the measurements and standards arena. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The leadership and technical merit of all reviewed programs in the MSEL are uniformly of high quality. As confirmed by recent literature citation index analyses, surveys, and workshops, the advances by the laboratory are held in the highest regard by materials industry and research personnel both in the United States and abroad. In 1998, the laboratory staff published 672 peer-reviewed publications, gave 361 invited talks, received 7 patents, and participated in 3 active consortia and 67 active CRADAs. The laboratory's leadership in the characterization and measurement of materials is very important to maintaining the strong position of the U.S. materials industries in the global marketplace. Programs are reviewed in detail in the divisional assessments below. Some highlights follow. The NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) exhibited excellent safety and performance while serving an ever-broader range of users of its unique facility. The startup of the high-flux backscattering spectrometer in mid-1998 was successful and quickly yielded new records in energy resolution. The spin echo spectrometer and the disk chopper time-of-flight spectrometer are approaching completion and promise to add more unique and valuable capability. The ability to fabricate and characterize giant magnetoresistance thin films is allowing the Metallurgy Division to contribute to the development of magnetic tunnel junctions for future computer memory systems. NIST abilities in this area are world class, and the program makes appropriate use of capabilities. The Materials Reliability Division effort on quantitative microscale measurement of strain and materials fatigue are providing critical tools to improve the reliability of microelectronic components and assemblies. Concentration of efforts on specimen sizes whose properties may vary from that found in bulk materials is unique. The use of phase equilibria expertise in the Ceramics Division to design and evaluate new dielectric ceramic systems for the wireless communications industry is very timely. This work illustrates the importance of NIST's historical expertise in the very traditional area of phase equilibria studies.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 The effort in the Polymers Division to develop and characterize a new injectable bone graft material promises to contribute to an important health care need. NIST has an opportunity to contribute to both industry and the public good by building expeditiously on its existing expertise in dental polymers in pursuit of this project. This effort will soon need external collaborators to provide both support and program guidance. Impact of Programs Programs in the MSEL continue to be closely tied to industrial needs and customers. Results are generally well targeted to industrial measurement and standards needs and well received by industrial technical colleagues. The divisional reports below discuss a number of examples of the impact of laboratory programs on various industries. Some highlights follow. The Metallurgy Division's Casting of Aerospace Alloys Consortium was successfully concluded and awarded a Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer Award for services to U.S. industry. The outstanding modeling and phase diagram capability that was developed during that program will be a valuable asset in casting industries beyond aerospace applications. The Ceramics Processing Characterization Consortium has grown to include 75 members, a very large number. NIST participation focuses on characterization of ceramic powders, slurry rheology, and resulting parts. Consortium meetings have helped industry define its metrology needs in ceramic processes and created a forum for transfer of NIST technology to industrial users. The matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) work in the Polymers Division is contributing strongly to the first new broadly useful polymer molecular weight determination technique to appear in many years. Dramatic reductions in sample processing and data reduction times as well as much higher information content have been demonstrated by this new materials characterization system, and major cost- and time-savings should result for materials suppliers and users when this technique is perfected and successfully transferred. The NIST NCNR continues to be highly oversubscribed by technical personnel from industry, academia, and government, which is one measure of the need it fills in the materials community. The NCNR staff continue to find innovative ways of increasing the productivity of their beamlines and equipment to help respond to this demand. Internet dissemination of research results continues to grow in importance for all research communities. In its previous two assessments, the panel urged MSEL to increase its efforts to provide timely and accurate data and research results on the Web in a format that facilitates use. Since the previous assessment, the laboratory has continued its progress in Web dissemination. The panel's expectations in this area have been met. MSEL's continued use of the Web for dissemination in a thoughtful and productive way will help ensure that MSEL remains the premiere source for measurements and standards technology for materials.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Laboratory Resources Funding sources1 for the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory2 (in millions of dollars) are as follows:   Fiscal Year 1998 Fiscal Year 1999 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 30.9 30.0 Competence 0.0 0.1 ATP 3.0 2.4 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.7 0.5 OA/NFG/CRADA 4.9 4.3 Other Reimbursable 0.2 0.5 Total 39.7 37.8 As of January 1999, staffing for the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory included 199 full-time permanent positions, of which 166 were for technical professionals. There were also 39 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. Equipment and facilities are generally not a limiting factor in MSEL programs. The laboratory continues to attract and retain a very high quality technical staff, its biggest asset. 1   The NIST Measurement and Standards Laboratories funding comes from a variety of sources. The laboratories receive appropriations from Congress, known as Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) funding. Competence funding also comes from NIST's congressional appropriations, but it is allotted by the NIST director's office in multiyear grants for projects that advance NIST's capabilities in new and emerging areas of measurement science. Advanced Technology Program (ATP) funding reflects support from NIST's ATP for work done at the NIST laboratories in collaboration with or in support of ATP projects. Funding to support production of Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) is tied to the use of such products and is classified as Measurement Services. NIST laboratories also receive funding through grants or contracts from other government agencies (OA), from nonfederal governmental (NFG) agencies, and from industry in the form of Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). All other laboratory funding, including that from Calibration Services, is grouped under Other Reimbursable. 2   The funding for the NIST Center for Neutron Research is excluded from these totals. Information about the Center's funding is available in the section of this report containing the subpanel review of that facility.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 DIVISIONAL REVIEWS Ceramics Division Division Mission The mission of the Ceramics Division is to work with industry, standards bodies, academia, and other government agencies in providing the leadership for the nation's measurements and standards infrastructure for ceramic materials. The Ceramics Division mission statement is consistent with that of NIST, and the division's activities are consistent with, and accurately reflected in, its mission statement. The programs within the division stimulate the more-effective production and use of ceramic materials by working with suppliers and users to assure the development and implementation of essential measurements and standards. The manner in which programs traverse divisional boundaries is a clear indicator that the mission of the division is well integrated with the missions of MSEL and NIST. Good examples of these interdivisional programs include the Ceramics Coatings Program and the Synchrotron Radiation Characterization Program. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The Ceramics Division is the largest ceramics research group in the United States. It has a historical reputation for excellence, notable senior scientists, and good management. Today, it is well directed to the mission of developing measurements and standards. The division senior personnel have chosen programs in areas in which the division can make unique impacts, targeting areas that have a clear link to industrial need on a national scale and are relevant to the production of standards, data, or reference materials. In particular, the division chief has improved the thin film program by soliciting industrial advice via a review panel. The panel had an opportunity to review in detail the programs discussed below. Ceramic thin films are important scientifically, technically, and industrially. Inorganic, single-crystal and polycrystalline thin films have been and will be used for a wide variety of device applications including nonvolatile memories, dynamic random access memory, pyroelectric detectors, field emission displays, microwave devices, and wear-resistant coatings. In the previous assessment, the panel conducted an extensive review of the Ceramic Thin Film Measurements and Standards Program, since it was newly formed by merging several other programs and research groups. This program represented a large fraction of the division 's personnel and resources. The panel concluded that an industrial advisory board could help identify appropriate and compatible industrial collaborators. Since the previous assessment, the division management formally solicited industrial advice by forming a Thin Film Panel composed of senior scientists from three companies (Ramtron International Corporation, IBM Corporation, and Hewlett-Packard) from the electronics sector that use inorganic thin films. The Thin Film Panel report was strongly supportive of a program that emphasized thin film characterization rather than thin film fabrication or processing. Based on that advice, the division management has refocused the effort. This program now endeavors to provide improved measurement tools and data that are needed to evaluate advanced ceramic film and film systems. With this new focus and specific recommendations from the Thin Film Panel on

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 materials to be studied, continuing research on (Ba,Sr)TiO3 films for high dielectric application has made considerable progress using the unique research tools available within the division. The Ceramics Processing Program concentrates its research on the characterization of ceramic powders, the rheology of slurries made from these powders, and the characterization of powder compacts. Program staff have organized the largest industrial consortium in the division, the Ceramic Processing Characterization Consortium, which now includes 75 members, including 4 government laboratories and 13 universities. The success of this consortium can be measured by a large, well-attended symposium held at the annual meeting of the American Ceramic Society (ACerS). Many of the research areas discussed (dispersion of dense suspensions, replacement of mercury for porosimetry measurement with a nontoxic alternative) reflect the new focus on how ceramic powders behave during the subsequent forming processes. Such research topics are well supported by industry. In addition to the ACerS symposium, a number of consortium meetings have been held at NIST. These have helped define the industry's needs and allowed industry professionals to see the expertise at NIST and the strong commitment of NIST to industry. Unfortunately, the leader of this program, a scientist with an international reputation, retired from NIST late in 1998. NIST has always been a world leader in the science of phase equilibria. The division's current research in this area, reduced in scale from previous years, emphasizes phase relations for materials targeted for wireless microwave communications and current transmission via superconductors. The rapidly growing wireless/microwave industry was targeted because the discovery of improved dielectric materials is essential to its continued progress. Such discovery can be enabled by phase equilibria research, coordinated with property measurements. Last year the panel had a chance to review the phase equilibria data generated at NIST for the multicomponent system Bi-Pb-Ca-Sr-Cu-O, a class of superconductor materials targeted to the anticipated superconductor wire industry. This year the panel focused on phase equilibria research in the area targeted for microwave communication. This work was impressive. These dielectric ceramics are used in a variety of components in cellular communication circuits that store, filter, and transfer electromagnetic energy. Knowledge of the phase relations in specific systems with known potential as dielectric materials is important to reveal new compounds and because all ceramic components are produced as a mixture of active phases that compensate one another to produce temperature stability through a zero temperature coefficient. Current studies include multielement oxide systems that contain Ti+4 and/or Nb+5, two highly polarizable cations. These systems are known to produce insulators with high dielectric constants. Active industrial collaborators in this program include Lucent Technologies, Trans-Tech, and Trak Ceramics. In the Dental and Medical Materials Program, the panel had the opportunity to review a very innovative tribology program directed at characterizing the wear of hip-joint replacement materials. It involves a rapid screening methodology intended to shorten the product development cycle and lead to ceramics with improved product reliability. Six orthopedic companies that form the Orthopaedic Consortium have great interest in this research. During the 2-year research effort at NIST, a novel wear tester was designed and built to duplicate the rubbing and loading motion found in the human hip joint. It was shown that the new cyclic rubbing/loading test duplicated the wear debris found to cause degradation of artificial hip joints. This wear debris resulted from a cross-shear motion that the wear tester applied by two independent motor-driven stages, with cyclic load spiking events. Using materials with known comparative wear-rate levels, a short-duration test method was developed that mimics the loading history and wear debris of the human joint.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Impact of Programs Several of the division's programs, such as those discussed above, have a significant number of industrial partners, which suggests that industry views them as useful. One impressive result was the large, 3-day powder processing symposium held at the annual meeting of the ACerS in May 1998 and organized by the Industry/NIST/University Ceramic Processing Characterization Consortium. This symposium was one technical highlight of the large annual meeting and was organized around university, industrial, and NIST scientists and engineers. A second impressive result was the short course associated with the grinding consortium. It was popular and positively viewed by the attendees. The division might consider expanding offerings of short courses to industry that help disseminate advances made in its programs. The most rapidly growing information dissemination mechanism is the Web. In 1997, the division had a proposal and guidelines to develop a unique Web site. Progress to this end was observed by the panel last year. This year, the panel was led through the well-developed, but still embryonic, Ceramics Division Web page. Data and new division developments can be easily obtained with the page's user-friendly format. Data available were impressive, including high critical temperature (Tc) superconductors data, NIST data summaries for advanced materials, structural ceramic databases, a machining database, a guide to fractography, and linkages to other data sources. NIST could consider helping small businesses get on the Web in order to understand the resources available from NIST and elsewhere. Assessing the impact of the division's programs on industry is difficult. One criterion might be the industrial participation in the different consortiums within the division. Both the Ceramic Processing Characterization Consortium and the Ceramic Grinding Consortium have very active industrial participation. Active industrial collaboration in research projects is a mechanism of immediate technology transfer that is far more effective than reports, presentations, or technical papers. It is not clear, however, how best to have an impact on industries that do not directly participate in NIST collaborations. There are isolated but notable instances where the technical work has been of excellent quality, and the industrial impact might be assessed as minimal, as in the case of NIST's efforts to provide rational design criteria for brittle materials, particularly structural ceramics. Those criteria are generally not practiced within the ceramic industry but widely implemented by high-technology user industries, such as the designers of advanced heat engines. For example, Solar Turbines, Inc., uses these criteria for the mechanical design of its advanced industrial turbine now under test for a large Department of Energy program.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Division Resources Funding sources for the Ceramics Division (in millions of dollars) are as follows:   Fiscal Year 1998 Fiscal Year 1999 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 9.3 8.9 ATP 0.7 0.7 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.2 0.1 OA/NFG/CRADA 1.3 0.8 Other Reimbursable 0.1 0.2 Total 11.6 10.7 As of January 1999, staffing for the Ceramics Division included 59 full-time permanent positions, of which 51 were for technical professionals. There were also eight nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. The division has made a conscious effort to wean itself from OA funds, but with a level NIST budget, it will use OA funds to enhance, but not dominate, existing programs. This strategy allows the division to define its programs based on technical merit and potential impact, rather than on the ups and downs of internal funding. The level NIST budget will require the division to decrease in size using attrition. The inability to commit to new hires has already had a significant impact on the Ceramic Processing Program after the recent retirement of its internationally known technical leader. However, the division has been able to use very able guest scientists and postdoctoral research associates. The division has access to some very special, and in some cases unique, facilities. These include the laser ablation mass spectrometer, the microtribology laboratory, the NMR imaging facility, beam lines on the NIST neutron reactor, beam lines on national synchrotron light sources, and a host of state-of-the-art mechanical testing equipment. The quantity of available space does not appear to be an issue at the moment and is unlikely to be an issue in the near future if the planned construction of new laboratories proceeds. This will include vibration-free and dust-free clean-room space for film and coatings research. The panel notes that the division chief continues to improve the responsiveness of the division to the NIST mission by his reorganization. He also provides strong leadership, enthusiasm, and direction for the division, which the panel applauds.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Materials Reliability Division Division Mission The mission of the Materials Reliability Division is to develop measurement technologies that enable the producers and users of materials to improve the quality and reliability of their products. The division mission directly supports the programs of the MSEL and is congruent with the mission of NIST. The areas chosen for specialization complement other national efforts appropriately without duplication and address nationally important sectors of the measurements and standards arena. Programs address the measurement technology and standards requirements defined by the MSEL thrusts or support SRMs for industry. All programs are supporting the NIST mission. The division has shaped the existing projects to maximize the capability of its limited staff to develop and promote industrial measurement technology and standards according to the laboratory and NIST missions. The scope of the technical effort is appropriately limited in order to maintain critical mass within each project. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The panel concluded that the projects undertaken in the Materials Reliability Division were of very high technical merit. The overall technical advancement within the division over the past several years reflects effective organization and efficient execution of projects. The division has made substantial progress in planning and utilizing expected project outputs as objectives. Outputs are either new measurement technologies or standard samples and include a defined method of information transfer to the industry. Plans are well coordinated, and the outcomes of the programs are equal or better to the outcomes of the best national laboratories, academia, or industrial laboratories. The division has focused its resources on ultrasonic characterization of materials, online sensors for measuring materials characteristics and/or processing conditions needed for real-time process control, nondestructive characterization of radiation embrittlement, and micrometer-scale measurements. The existing programs address the critical need of the industry in microsensing measurement methods, x-ray diffraction, and intelligent processing of materials. Examples meriting particular comment follow. The division addresses materials and measurement issues in the microelectronics and electronic packaging arenas on a number of critical fronts. The concentration on specimen sizes and shapes identical to those found in microelectronics is unique. At these sizes, the fact that an object is nearly all surface can determine the material properties, which may be far from bulk values. The expertise of the staff shows great depth, with basic understanding of the physics and materials science underlying the observed behavior of the materials and structures. The electron

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 beam Moire technique developed in the division by the group provides quantitative measurement of thermomechanical strain, fatigue/fracture, and interface reliability on all packaging scales, from flip-chip to circuit board to complete integrated structures. Microscale mechanical testing of thin films, another technique developed by the division, provides traditional mechanical properties data for metal interconnects and nonmetallics on sample scales from 200 µm to submicron sizes. The division's application of infrared microscopy to test structures allows measurement of the absolute thermal conductivity of package elements. Crystallographic orientation mapping, combined with analytical electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy, is used to evaluate crystallographic sources of failure in on-chip interconnects caused by production stresses or electromigration. One particular example of the high-quality work performed in this area is the ability to perform nanometer-resolution micro-Moire measurements on flip-chip plastic ball grid arrays using thermal cycling. Each of these activities has involved industrial collaborations. Most of the samples used in the investigations were supplied by industrial partners who had a materials problem that needed a solution. The division programs are at the forefront of academia and especially industrial laboratories in the area of nanoscale measurements. However, expanding division programs in the area of predictive modeling would help industry to reduce its cycle time of new products. Impact of Programs The division is well known for the dissemination of the program results to industrial users. Their effort includes leadership and participation in standards-setting committees, attendance at conferences and workshops, and numerous published papers. Staff interactions with industry, the technical community, and industry consortia (Semiconductor Industry Association, Semiconductor Research Corporation, National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative, and so on) are maintained at a continuously high level to the extent possible for the relatively small size of the group. Dissemination of the results could be broader and faster if a Web site were available for program result dissemination. Such an effort would require adequate funding and centralized management. The programs are having a strong impact on the metal-working industry, particularly in the area of ultrasonic characterization of metal and alloy microstructures. The division has worked with industry to commercialize advances in noncontact ultrasonics, waveform-based acoustic emissions, nondestructive evaluation of composites, and nonlinear ultrasonics. The microscale measurements of electronic device/packaging structures strongly support the microelectronic fabrication industry. The existing skill base could readily support digital electronic and wireless industry needs if future programs focused on that industry. The division 's colocation with the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory provides an opportunity for joint efforts.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 description of collaborations established. This communicates precisely the information most relevant to potential customers. Division Resources Funding sources for the Metallurgy Division (in millions of dollars) are as follows:   Fiscal Year 1998 Fiscal Year 1999 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 7.9 7.6 ATP 0.9 0.6 Measurement Services (SRM production) 0.2 0.1 OA/NFG/CRADA 1.5 1.0 Other Reimbursable 0.1 0.1 Total 10.6 9.4 As of January 1999, staffing for the Metallurgy Division included 50 full-time permanent positions, of which 44 were for technical professionals. There were also 11 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. Aging equipment continues to be an issue for the division. The division needs a replacement strategy that includes consideration of obsolescence costs and the long-term impact of obsolete equipment. MAJOR OBSERVATIONS The panel presents the following major observations. As confirmed by recent literature citation index analyses, by surveys, and in workshops, the advances by the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL) are held in the highest regard by materials industry and research personnel both in the United States and abroad. Dissemination via the Internet continues to grow in importance as a way for users to receive very timely and accurate results in a format that facilitates their use. The laboratory has now met the panel's expectations in its development and use of the Web as it strives to maintain its position as the premiere source of measurements and standards technology in the materials arena. The Metallurgy Division's thin films research appropriately capitalizes on its world-class capability to fabricate and characterize giant magnetoresistance (GMR) thin films. Such films are necessary to the development of magnetic tunnel junctions for future computer memory systems. The Polymers Division has made excellent progress in adapting the life sciences technique of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) to replace classic molecular weight

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 determination systems. MALDI offers order-of-magnitude reductions in analytical process and data reduction time with increased information content. The NIST-MSEL-MALDI Web page is in operation, and as more industry materials users acquire the necessary instrumentation, this major advance will make U.S. industry more competitive in the global marketplace. REVIEW OF THE NIST CENTER FOR NEUTRON RESEARCH This annual assessment of the activities of the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) of the MSEL is based on a meeting of the Subpanel of Standards and Technology on January 26–27, 1999, and on the 1998 for the NIST Center for Neutron Research at the National Institute annual report of the NIST Center for Neutron Research.4 Members of the subpanel included Albert Narath, Sandia National Laboratories (retired), Chair; Alice P. Gast, Stanford University; John B. Higgins, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; Eric W. Kaler, University of Delaware; Allan H. MacDonald, Indiana University; Theodore R. Schmidt, Sandia National Laboratories; and Gen Shirane, Brookhaven National Laboratory. Mission According to NIST documentation, the vision of the NCNR is to ensure the availability of neutron measurement capabilities to meet the needs of U.S. researchers from industry, universities, and other government agencies. To serve this vision, the mission of the NCNR is to operate the NIST research reactor cost-effectively while assuring the safety of the staff and general public; to develop neutron measurement techniques, to develop new applications of these techniques, and to apply them to problems of national interest; and to operate the research facilities of the NCNR as a national facility, serving researchers from industry, universities, and government. It is the considered judgment of the subpanel that the NCNR continues to be an essential component of the national measurement infrastructure. In addition to providing exemplary direct support to the internal programs of the NIST measurement and standards laboratories, it serves as a major national scientific user facility supporting a large and diverse user community. Additionally, the innovative measurement technologies pioneered at the NCNR are strongly influencing developments at other national facilities. It is evident from these considerations that the NCNR is fully in conformance with the NIST mission. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The outstanding record of achievement of the NCNR is in large measure attributable to management's effectiveness in balancing two often-conflicting needs: maintenance and support for current users and equipment versus investment in and development of future facility 4   U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST Center for Neutron Research, 1998 Programs and Accomplishments, NISTIR 6251, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., 1999.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 upgrades. The unique characteristics of the cold-neutron source and the outstanding performance of the neutron scattering instrumentation attest to the excellence of past investment decisions, and the anticipated performance of instruments now coming on line or under development provides confidence that this pattern will continue. At the same time, the rate of significant scientific and technological accomplishments continues to be impressive, indicating that current users are well-served by the NCNR staff and instruments. Reactor and Research Facility Operations. The subpanel was again impressed by the high availability of the reactor and the cold source. Even though one reactor cycle was disrupted (as discussed below), the reactor operated for 244 days, which was 98 percent of the NCNR's stated goal of 250 operating days in fiscal year 1998. The cold source is a very complex system, and yet it experienced remarkably high reliability (98 percent) in fiscal year 1998, as did the neutron instruments (also 98 percent). The staff and management are to be commended for successfully providing high availability to the reactor's users while continuing to operate the facility in a safe manner compliant with all relevant regulations. The reactor's Safety Audit Committee (SAC) visited the site in October 1998 and performed a comprehensive review of reactor operations, which was documented in the resulting SAC report. They placed special emphasis on emergency planning and concluded that emergency preparedness at the facility has been carefully organized and is being successfully implemented. Last year the SAC focused on maintenance operations, and this year's report noted resulting improvements in the number of procedures in place and in the increased extent of the maintenance files. The committee, by virtue of the extensive experience and long-term involvement of its members, provides valuable independent oversight of the operational activities at the reactor. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires relicensing of the reactor facility before 2004, and the new license is expected to extend operations through 2024. The NCNR staff have conducted a review to identify improvements that need to be made before relicensing as well as the upgrades, component replacements, and critical procurements necessary to permit sustained operations over the next 20-year licensing period. Adequate supplies of reactor fuel, control rods, and heavy water are on hand for the near future. The staff seem to have a clear understanding of the actions required to prepare for relicensing, and therefore the effort is expected to proceed to a successful conclusion. In fiscal year 1997, spent fuel was shipped from the facility for the first time in 10 years. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted an inspection of the process and determined that the spent fuel was loaded safely and in conformance with regulatory requirements of both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Transportation. An additional quantity of spent fuel will have completed its cool-down time in the near future, and plans are under way to make another shipment either late this year or sometime next year. The only incident of note was a minor water leak in the vicinity of a thermal column, which contains heavy water and extends through the biological shield of the reactor. Two of the reactor's shim arm drive mechanisms have control shafts that penetrate the reactor vessel and are located above and adjacent to the thermal column. These drive mechanisms may have been a source of the leak. When the leak occurred, the NCNR staff decided to shut down the reactor and investigate the source of the leak by disassembling the thermal column. However, before this process could be completed, the leak stopped, and attempts to locate it and diagnose its cause were unsuccessful. Corrective action included adding a catch basin and installing a leak

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 detector. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission visited the site, reviewed the actions taken by the NCNR, and concluded that the leak was not significant in terms of safety and that the management response to the leak was conservative. The subpanel finds that the conservative response was highly appropriate given the current regulatory climate and the need to maintain unquestioned public confidence in the safe operation of the NIST reactor. The subpanel applauds the management for maintaining a strong focus on reactor safety given the programmatic pressures for continued operation. The Radiation Protection Program continues to be highly effective. The only dose-intensive activity was the removal of the thermal column and the associated leak testing. These activities resulted in a total dose received of about 1.5 man-rem. A review was conducted of the backup power system for the reactor, as NIST usually experiences several site-wide power outages each year. In these cases, the reactor shuts down by bringing alternating current-direct current shutdown pumps on line that are powered either by a battery bank or by a pair of diesel-powered motor/generators. Both the diesels and the battery bank are in excellent condition and have had adequate routine surveillance. The subpanel notes that the reactor routinely does not operate during the December-January holiday period and therefore will not be running during the Y2K switchover. In addition, because of the backup systems, no safety-critical systems should be affected, even if site infrastructure support is lost during the days following December 31, 1999. Instrumentation Development. Efforts continue on the construction and renovation of the neutron spectrometers available at the NCNR. Modifications to the thermal triple-axis spectrometers in the confinement building are progressing. In addition, construction on two major high-resolution instruments, the spin echo spectrometer and the disk chopper time-of-flight spectrometer, is approaching completion. However, the highlight of this year is definitely the commissioning of the high-flux backscattering spectrometer in the guide hall. The first vanadium spectrum from this instrument was obtained on June 28, 1998, after a design and construction effort lasting more than 6 years. The measured energy resolution of 0.9 microelectron-volts is a factor of approximately 50 better than the resolutions routinely obtained at any other neutron spectrometer within the United States. This exceptional resolution will allow scientists to begin investigations into many types of dynamic processes in solids and liquids. In addition, a flux has been measured at the sample position that is 40 percent higher than the flux obtained at any other backscattering spectrometer in the world, and NIST' s use of ingenious flux enhancing devices has enabled it to produce this flux without lowering the energy resolution. The subpanel observed that enhancements to the available software would allow more efficient use of the instruments with large user bases and would ease the burden on all experimenters. For some instruments, users would greatly benefit from upgrades of both operating and analysis software, and the subpanel noted with approval that efforts in this direction are under way in a few cases. Another possible improvement would be the availability of a suite of relatively standard analysis programs; these would be particularly useful to short-term visitors if they could be accessed over the Internet. Perhaps other units at NIST would be able to assist in making these sorts of upgrades to the users' computer support at NCNR. Neutron Condensed Matter Science. The subpanel observed a very high level of competency, dedication, and enthusiasm among the in-house technical staff and visiting users. It comes as no surprise therefore that the quality of the science continues to be first-rate.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 The Chemical Physics Group investigates the structures and dynamics of a wide variety of condensed matter systems of scientific and technological interest. New neutron spectroscopy techniques developed at NCNR are used by the group to probe atomic and molecular excitations in materials. Examples of the exciting new science being done on materials of industrial significance include studies of solids that shrink when heated and investigations on hydrogen storage in carbon buckyballs and nanotubes. New biological applications under investigation include inelastic scattering studies of sugar solutions used in drug delivery systems. Staff in this group also support the BT-4 triple axis/filter analyzer spectrometer, which is used for chemical spectroscopy, and the two cold-neutron time-of-flight spectrometers that employ inelastic scattering for dynamic studies. The broad industrial and academic user base for these instruments includes strong collaborations with Bell Laboratories, Dupont, Hughes, Allied Signal, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California at Santa Barbara. As discussed above in the section on instrumentation development, a major accomplishment this year was the commissioning of the new high-flux backscattering spectrometer that is the culmination of a 6-year design and construction effort. The Magnetism and Superconductivity Group takes advantage of the unique properties of neutrons in order to study magnetic microstructure. One current project is a study of SiO2 films containing layered nanometer-scale cobalt grains. These materials show strong magnetoresistance effects that combine features of those found in ferromagnet/insulator/ferromagnet tunnel junctions and those found in granular films containing ferromagnetic particles. The strong magnetoresistance effects could potentially have applications for magnetic information storage technologies. The NIST experimenters, in collaboration with researchers from the Center for Magnetic Recording Research at the University of California at San Diego, are establishing correlations between magnetic domain formation and magnetoresistive properties. Another interesting class of materials under study is lanthanum manganese oxides, which exhibit strong magnetoresistance effects with a rather distinct physical mechanism. A central question in efforts to understand the magnetoresistance of these materials has been quantifying the degree of lattice involvement in the mechanism. The NIST researchers, in collaboration with colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory, have obtained direct evidence of charge localization associated with lattice distortion in the strongly resistive paramagnetic state of the compounds. Use of the triple-axis spin-polarized spectrometer at the cold source continues to produce a series of very interesting papers on spin dynamics of low dimensional systems. These include studies of the doped haldane system Y(Ca)2BaNiO5 and of spin ordering in the high-temperature superconductors La2CuO4+y and L(Sr)2CuO4. In addition, ingenious techniques have been developed to utilize multianalyzers with a position-sensitive detector. This setup was used to study the spin dynamics of powder ZnCr2O4, with promising results. The Crystallography and Diffraction Applications Group develops and maintains instrumentation for the structural characterization of polycrystal and single-crystal materials. The BT-1 high-resolution powder diffractometer with 32 detectors and a choice of 3 neutron wavelengths continues to provide high-resolution data for standards development, analysis of phase transformations, phase quantification, and the detailed study of complex crystal structures. A newly acquired 2000 K variable-temperature vacuum furnace significantly extends the temperature range over which materials can be studied. An environmental sample chamber for measurements under various gas loadings and a range of temperatures also has been developed. Users from industry, university, and government laboratories collected over 1,000 data sets from

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 technologically important materials including high-temperature superconductors, magnetoresistive materials, zeolite catalysts, fast ion conductors, gas membrane materials, and high-temperature ceramics. On average, the BT-1 diffractometer is used for approximately 100 different projects each year. To make this instrument more efficient for this large outside user base, the NCNR staff have enhanced user productivity tools by developing new data analysis software, a graphical user interface for Rietveld refinement software, and new user documentation in support of the diffractometer. The BT-8 double-axis residual-stress diffractometer continues to support residual stress and texture analysis. Residual stress measurements play a key role in the engineering analysis of materials. Staff members have worked with industrial and government groups developing new standards, software, and analysis techniques for evaluating important industrial and infrastructure materials, including aircraft parts, welds, structural steels, dental materials, thermally sprayed coatings, and titanium rib implants. Although fiscal year 1998 saw some specific industry-related applications of neutron diffraction residual stress measurements (with Caterpillar, Boeing, and IAP Research, for example), the principal use of the BT-8 instrument was aimed toward broader issues. For example, there was considerable activity in the Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards, where the goal is to provide the basis for an international standard for neutron diffraction residual stress measurement. The NIST group hosted one of the semiannual meetings with attendees from 10 countries and performed measurements on two round-robin samples. Two related projects provided reference standards to be used for more portable techniques of residual stress determination. One was a round-robin study of fatigue specimens fabricated by John Deere, and the second was a joint project with the NIST Materials Reliability Division on the characterization of ring/plug samples for ultrasonic studies and acoustic microscopy. A significant accomplishment this year is the development of a new method to determine single-crystal elastic constants from polycrystalline materials. This technique has provided new information about materials containing very fine precipitates, including superalloys and plasma sprayed coatings. The group next plans to extend this capability to high temperatures where elastic constant information is very difficult to obtain. The NIST Crystallographic Data Center continues collaborative work with the German science organization Fachinformationszentrum Karlsruhe (FIZ) on the Inorganic Crystal Structure Database. A PC software product containing structural crystallographic descriptions of inorganic materials is under development; the user interface design was completed this year. The CD-ROM version of the NIST Crystal Data Database is now available directly from NIST at about one-fifth the cost that was being charged when it was distributed by an outside vendor. The Surface and Interfacial Science Group continues to apply neutron reflectivity techniques to the study of a variety of hard and soft interfaces, with applications ranging from magnetism to polymer science to biology. The staff carries out high-quality research while providing state-of-the-art reflectivity instruments for a large user community. Work on polymer interfaces involves the study of polymer brush structures, wetting, and polymer diffusion in thin films. In this area, there is substantial scientific overlap with work in the Macromolecular and Microstructure Science Group. Studies of magnetic systems involve probing interlayer coupling in magnetic systems, domain structures, and the giant magnetoresistance effect. Langmuir Blodgett films are also being examined, both alone and as substrates for biological molecules. Other work on biological materials focuses on the studies of the location and orientation of proteins at surfaces and the effect of various surface modifications on protein conformation and, ultimately, function. The subpanel noted that user demand for the reflectivity instruments

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 continues to be high, and this oversubscription is cause for concern. The work in reflectivity will be enhanced by the addition of the proposed dedicated biolayer reflectometer/diffractometer currently under consideration, but it is likely more instrumentation will be needed to meet the growing demand for neutron research in this area. The Macromolecular and Microstructure Science Group develops and maintains neutron methods relating submicron structure to bulk properties. This group also supports a large and vigorous user community engaged in such research. Group staff have been very successful in both these endeavors, and NCNR provides an excellent facility for small-angle scattering. The internal research is of high quality and touches on a variety of fields, from liquid crystals and polymers to surfactant science and phase behavior. The range of sample environments is impressive, and the planned upgrade of a shear cell to allow simultaneous rheological and scattering measurements will be very useful. The upcoming commissioning of the neutron spin echo spectrometer and the availability of an ultrasmall angle neutron scattering instrument will add more capabilities and allow further scientific advances. Much of the success of the group in developing and caring for a user base has depended on a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in support of the Center for High Resolution Neutron Scattering (CHRNS). This grant is up for renewal in fiscal year 1999, and continuation of CHRNS and its funding is very important to NIST and to the scientific community that uses these instruments. The NCNR is planning to increase its activities in the life sciences. The subpanel supports the ongoing efforts in this direction, particularly the continuing development of reflectometer/diffractometer instrumentation for the biological membrane studies. NCNR management has wisely concluded that it would be neither possible nor desirable to build a critical mass of life-science talent within the NCNR. Therefore, success in implementing new activities in this field will require substantial and continual interaction with life scientists in other NIST divisions, as well as outside of NIST. Their help will be needed in formulating future research directions and gaining access to new and stable funding sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, to support new and expanded programs. Although the length scales of many biological assemblies are of the correct size to probe with neutrons, the complexity of the systems and the wide range of variables involved mean that careful preliminary and ancillary work is needed to place the neutron experiments in context. This work will best be done in broad collaborations that are larger than the typical groups that come together in condensed matter physics, and thus the style of research interactions for this work will require a new approach for the NCNR. User Community. Recently, representatives of the NCNR user community organized a survey of the users about their experiences working at the reactor. The results indicate that visitors to NIST give high marks to all aspects of facility operation and support. The areas where users felt enhancements would yield significant benefit centered on (1) improved on-site data storage and analysis capability, including a greater degree of standardization of software interfaces, (2) improved Internet access, and (3) dedicated space where experimenters could rest for short

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 periods during round-the-clock or late-night experiments. (This last item would address not only personal comfort and productivity issues but also could have an impact on operational safety as well, since fatigue can contribute to an unsafe work environment.) The subpanel 's observations supported the users' views on these topics. In last year's report, the subpanel noted that several instruments in the guide hall were oversubscribed, and the large number of applications for beam time was placing a significant burden on in-house staff, NCNR 's Program Advisory Committee, and the external reviewers. This year, the NCNR is experimenting with a new mechanism for applications, the Program Proposal. This approach allows frequent and experienced users of the detectors to submit an application for a 2-year program of experiments. The subpanel supports NCNR's efforts to try this new mechanism and looks forward to hearing next year about how it has worked out. Non-U.S. visitors constitute a substantial fraction (roughly 18 percent) of NCNR users. The NCNR management is fully aware that participation by scientists from overseas could be construed as inconsistent with the facility mission to support “U.S. researchers.” However, the management is equally aware that leadership in any scientific endeavor is not possible in isolation. The worldwide contacts established through foreign participation continue to facilitate the development of state-of-the-art instruments and techniques. For this reason, peer-reviewed access for foreign scientists is considered a normal part of the operation of the NCNR, especially when it involves a U.S.-led scientific collaboration. The subpanel must note, however, that foreign facilities do not always practice reciprocity in granting access to U.S. researchers. Although this is a complex issue, it might be appropriate that experiments proposed by teams of non-U.S. scientists or with only token U.S. collaboration should be held to an exceptionally high standard before being granted beam time or that such experiments be limited to instruments for which the NCNR capability is unique in the world. Impact of Programs In fiscal year 1998, the NCNR had over 1,500 research participants (researchers who came to the NCNR or had their name on a paper based on work done at the NCNR). These participants came from 37 government agencies, 57 industrial organizations, and 96 U.S. universities. In addition, Exxon Research and Engineering Company, Texaco, and IBM all support long-term projects at the NCNR. The NCNR provided the basis for over 400 papers accepted or published in archival journals in fiscal year 1998. In addition, NCNR staff presented 70 invited talks during the year. The NCNR also hosted a summer school in June of 1998, which was attended by 34 individuals, including 20 students. The NCNR management carries out an extensive citation analysis as one method of assessing the impact of research performed at the facility. The impact derived from this analysis is substantially above average for the neutron-science field taken as a whole. The subpanel noted that it would be interesting to carry out a comparison of the relative impact levels for the different fields that constitute the NCNR research portfolio (magnetics, biophysics, and so on).

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 NCNR Resources Funding sources5 for the NIST Center for Neutron Research (in millions of dollars) are as follows:   Fiscal Year 1998 Fiscal Year 1999 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 14.8 14.4 Competence 0.1 0.2 ATP 0.3 0.2 OA/NFG/CRADA 1.9 2.0 Other Reimbursable 0.1 0.1 Total 17.2 16.9 The subpanel commends the NCNR management and staff for its cost consciousness. The NCNR has traditionally developed its instrumental capabilities and science programs within a very constrained resource envelope. It relies on disciplined conservative approaches to fiscal management and continues to resist excessive dependence on “soft money” sources, such as temporary funding from other government agencies or private institutions. Although this attitude toward external fiscal support may at times result in an underrealization of income, it does have the virtue of safeguarding NCNR against the instabilities and turmoil that can result from more aggressive or riskier fiscal management styles. Nonetheless, the subpanel must express some concern over the real possibility that the NCNR budget may be entering a period of decline. Given the lack of reserves available to the reactor and the exciting research opportunities arising with the commissioning of the new instruments, a declining budget could have a significant negative impact on the national neutron research community. The NCNR capabilities are in many ways unique among U.S. neutron sources, and it is important that it remain viable as a national user facility. The subpanel does note that NIST has, in the past, managed to find ways to work around budget shortfalls at the NCNR and hopes that, in the future, similar solutions will be found if circumstances necessitate it. The NCNR is the home of the CHRNS, which has been funded by the NSF for the last 5 years. The current grant expires at the end of this year, and NCNR is submitting a request to the NSF for a 5-year renewal of the contract. The subpanel believes that the CHRNS is of critical importance to the scientific work under way at the reactor and applauds the current efforts to develop a highly competitive proposal. However, the subpanel does note that support from other agencies, such as for CHRNS and possibly for the new initiative and instrumentation for life sciences research, should in no way diminish the base support of the Center by NIST. As of January 1999, the NCNR staffing included 85 full-time permanent positions, of which 78 were for technical professionals. There were also 13 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. 5   The totals for the reactor include only normal operation costs. Fuel cycle and upgrade costs, totaling approximately $5.7 million per year, are excluded.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 In anticipation of potential upcoming retirements by members of the reactor operating staff, three operators were hired and trained to be senior reactor operators (SROs). During March 1998, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission administered licensing examinations to the three candidates, and they passed all portions of their examinations. This result is an indication both of the quality of the candidates and of the thoroughness of their preparation. Between now and the end of 2003, NCNR management expects a total of six SROs to retire. However, with this year's licensing of the three new SROs and the anticipated hiring of additional candidates in the near future (2001), the organization is on track for a seamless transition in the reactor operating staff. The need for more expertise in modeling and in fundamental condensed matter theory at the NCNR has been highlighted in previous subpanel reports. Some progress toward meeting these needs has been made in the past year with the addition of a new member to the permanent NCNR staff. Theoretical input, especially critical for the design and interpretation of experimental studies of biological systems, has also been added through closer collaboration with university-based modeling groups and through related postdoctoral appointments. The subpanel believes that further additions to in-house fundamental theoretical expertise, particularly in the soft condensed matter area, would strengthen the NCNR science program. The subpanel has, in the past, stressed the importance of succession planning and management training. Therefore, the subpanel applauds the decision to provide more management responsibility to staff members who might be considered for future management positions within NCNR. This type of career development is critical in identifying and training the next generation of leaders. However, the subpanel believes that future NCNR managers would also benefit from more formal management training and encourages consideration of this option. Major technical and business schools offer several 1- to 2-week courses designed to build skills in this area. This type of staff development may help current management to identify outstanding leaders and also may provide a better basis for technical staff to evaluate whether they wish to make the transition into management. Progress continues on reactor facility upgrades. These upgrades are essential to ensure continuation of the high level of operational reliability displayed at the reactor. Several improvements were completed this past year. A second helium compressor was brought on line for the cold source to ensure continued reliability. In the guide hall, an additional local crane was installed at a specific instrument location to increase flexibility. During the next year, the main focus of activities in the guide hall will be to bring new instruments on line. Work on improving sound attenuation is complete in the reactor room and is progressing in the guide hall. The goal for this project is an order of magnitude reduction in noise level. Studies are also under way for the selection of new neutron monitoring systems for power determination and as part of the reactor safety system. An extended shutdown of the reactor will be scheduled for sometime in 2000 for major maintenance and improvements. The cooling tower, control rods, heavy water, and radiation-monitoring system will be replaced, and additional spent fuel may be shipped. It is also possible that a new cold source, designed to provide a factor of 2 increase in flux, will be installed at that time. The pace for upgrading systems is aggressive and strongly supported by the subpanel because of the age of the plant and the need to provide enhanced capability for the users.

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An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Major Observations of the Subpanel The subpanel presents the following major observations. The scientific achievements of the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) attest to the wise management of the reactor's relatively limited resources. Nonetheless, uncertain budget prospects for the next several years raise some concern over the NCNR's future ability to continue functioning at the forefront of neutron science. The emergence of the NCNR cold-neutron source as the leading facility of its kind among national neutron facilities makes the continued vitality of the NCNR especially critical. The reactor and the cold source have continued to operate at impressive levels of availability. Operational safety matters are receiving strong management attention and support. The response to a minor non-safety-critical incident during the year was handled competently and with a commendable degree of conservatism. Planning for the upcoming major reactor-facility upgrade and Nuclear Regulatory Commission license extension is on course. Significant progress has been achieved in bringing next-generation instruments on line. The high-flux backscattering spectrometer has achieved operational status with excellent energy resolution and sensitivity. The spin echo spectrometer has yielded its first echo observation and is now ready for testing prior to commissioning late in 1999. The disk chopper time-of-flight spectrometer is in final assembly. Progress has also been made in upgrading the two thermal triple axis spectrometers (BT-7 and BT-9) in the reactor containment building, and the subpanel was pleased to observe that the NCNR staff continue to develop promising plans for future instrumental innovations and improvements. Relations between the NCNR and its user community remain excellent. A number of constructive suggestions for improved facility support have been communicated to the NCNR management following a user-initiated and directed survey, and prospects for timely implementation of these suggestions appear good. A particularly urgent need is for the enhancement of on-site data storage and analysis support. The decision to shift research emphasis toward the life sciences is timely and is supported by the subpanel. However, successful implementation of this decision will require a high degree of collaboration with established centers of life-science excellence within NIST and elsewhere, and careful planning and coordination with the life-sciences community are necessary to determine the focus and context of the neutron experiments in this field. The NCNR strength in theory and modeling has been increased with an addition to the permanent staff. Additional creative effort to increase the impact of theory on the science program has received strong encouragement. Plans are in place for orderly transitions in senior management over the next 5 or so years, and initial implementations are moving forward at an acceptable rate.