Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 55
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Chapter 4 Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory
OCR for page 56
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 PANEL MEMBERS Lou Ann Heimbrook, Lucent Technologies, Chair Arlene A. Garrison, University of Tennessee, Vice Chair Thomas M. Baer, Arcturus Engineering, Inc. Alan Campion, University of Texas at Austin Anthony M. Dean, Exxon Research and Engineering Company Pablo G. Debenedetti, Princeton University Robert R. Dorsch, DuPont Life Sciences Robert E. Ellefson, Leybold Inficon, Inc. Daniel L. Flamm, The Microtechnology Analysis Group Walter W. Henslee, The Dow Chemical Company Wayne O. Johnson, Rohm and Haas Company Research Laboratory Roy S. Lyon, National Food Processors Association James D. Olson, Union Carbide Corporation James W. Serum, Hewlett-Packard Company Jay M. Short, Diversa, Inc. Christine S. Sloane, GM Research and Development Center Anne L. Testoni, Consultant, Hudson, Mass. Submitted for the panel by its Chair, Lou Ann Heimbrook, and its Vice Chair, Arlene A. Garrison, this assessment of the fiscal year 1999 activities of the Chemical Science and Technologies Laboratory is based on site visits by individual panel members, a formal meeting of the panel on March 2–3, 1999, in Gaithersburg, Md., and documents provided by the laboratory.1,2 1 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Chemical Sciences and Technology Laboratory Annual Report 1998, National institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., 1999. 2 U.S. Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory Technical Activities 1998, NISTIR 6273, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Md., 1999.
OCR for page 57
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 LABORATORY-LEVEL REVIEW Laboratory Mission According to laboratory documentation, the mission of the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (CSTL) is to provide the chemical measurement infrastructure to enhance U.S. industry's productivity and competitiveness; assure equity in trade; and improve public health, safety, and environmental quality. This mission statement fully reflects the mission of NIST to promote economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology. The goals and objectives of the laboratory mission are consistent with establishing the CSTL as the nation's leader in chemical and physical measurements in chemistry, chemical engineering, and biotechnology. The CSTL has defined and documented criteria for assessing current and future programs that emphasize the relevance of each program to the stated mission. The strategic planning occurring in the laboratory provides highly effective management of numerous technical programs. The strategic plans include detailed goals and objectives that assure the availability of needed measurement capabilities for U.S. industry, accelerate technological innovations critical to future economic growth, and maximize the synergies between the expertise available within the CSTL and within other laboratories at NIST. The results from this laboratory, as documented in the divisional reports, show that program evolution and redirection are occurring based on input from external sources, workshops for needs assessment, and a recognition that U.S. industry's technical requirements in standards and measurements are dynamic. The laboratory reallocates resources across CSTL via a variety of mechanisms, including changes in programs supported by outside agencies and turnover in the short-term grants from the NIST Director's Competence Program. The primary mechanism for change within the laboratory is an annual evaluation of all projects against a series of six program assessment criteria: industrial need, match to mission, assessment of how critical the CSTL role is for the success of the work, nature and size of impact relative to investment, timeliness and quality of output, and the opportunity afforded by recent scientific advances to foster mission objectives. The panel observed that these project selection criteria and the importance of maintaining mission relevance are clearly communicated to staff throughout CSTL and that the process is well defined and documented. Although the panel did not review the selection process in more than summary detail, the program portfolio produced by this selection process continues to be reviewed by CSTL and the panel not only to ensure consistency with mission but also to ensure that input from government agencies, international and national standards activities, industry, and the scientific community is appropriately utilized. CSTL is a leader within NIST in the formalization of program continuation and selection criteria, and although its process is only one possible approach to project selection, it is now being looked at as a best practice approach for other NIST laboratories to review. The panel is appreciative of the laboratory's efforts and looks forward to continuous improvement in this process as CSTL refines the tools used for project selection and their application. The CSTL staff makes every effort to ensure that all available industrial roadmaps are incorporated into their scientific endeavors when appropriate. In addition, NIST staff are highly involved in the development of technology roadmaps for several different industries. For example, the laboratory staff have been leaders in the Vision 2020 program, which is putting
OCR for page 58
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 together a roadmap for the U.S. chemical industry modeled after the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (NTRS). International intercomparability is a key issue for CSTL's main customers, industries such as aerospace, semiconductors, biotechnology, chemical processing, health, and energy. The global nature of these industries, which rely on CSTL Standard Reference Materials (SRMs), calibrations, and other services, requires that CSTL's work be at the best-in-class level to ensure U.S. companies' competitiveness and trade equity. In 1998, the laboratory held a number of workshops to benchmark CSTL capabilities in key areas that have a direct impact on U.S. competitiveness and trade. Discussions of the results are provided in the divisional assessments. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory provides leading-edge information to both expanding and more mature industries through work in five divisions: Biotechnology, Process Measurements, Surface and Microanalysis Science, Physical and Chemical Properties, and Analytical Chemistry. The breadth of scientific research and expertise in these divisions reflects the industries served by CSTL, including semiconductor, aerospace, biotechnology, chemical processing, health, and energy. Programs range from work on improving surface- and depth-profiling techniques used to characterize both biological and semiconductor materials, to work in analytical chemistry that increased the focus on international comparability and SRM work, to the excellent large biomolecule structure and sequence database activities. To serve such a broad customer base in an efficient and timely manner, CSTL divisions collaborate with each other and with other laboratories in NIST. The panel found that the technical work continued to provide the highest quality of chemical measurement capabilities and state-of-the-art basic and applied research in a broad range of technical areas. The laboratory balances development of the essential measurement standards and technologies for current and future technical needs of CSTL customers. The CSTL accounts for 90 percent of the databases provided by NIST's Standard Reference Data Program and by secondary distributors. The NIST Chemistry WebBook, which provides free Internet access to chemical reference data, was enlarged and improved by CSTL this year. This database serves as a resource for kinetics data for 5,000 to 10,000 users per week, 40 to 50 percent of whom are repeat users. The mass spectral library and chemical kinetics databases were also updated and released this year. In 1998, CSTL held workshops to benchmark SI base units of temperature and amount of substance (mole). Future workshops will focus on SI-derived units, including pressure, humidity, flow rate, and others. These workshops showed that many CSTL programs are best-in-class or state-of-the-art when benchmarked against other national measurement laboratories. These results agree with studies conducted in 1997, which demonstrated that CSTL covered a broader metrology scope than any other single institution in Japan, Germany, or Brazil. The technical merit and management of the programs in CSTL are excellent. The work and staff have been recognized internally, with Department of Commerce Silver and Bronze medal awards, and externally, with various university, scientific, and engineering society awards for excellence. The divisional reports document the technical quality of many of the CSTL staff and the merit of the programs, many of which are recognized throughout the world for their advancement of science and their impact on current and emerging industries.
OCR for page 59
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Impact of Programs The CSTL continued to deliver results to a wide scientific customer base in industry, government, and academia by all conventional means of dissemination. In fiscal year 1998, the laboratory staff published 340 articles in scientific journals (accounting for 17 percent of the NIST total publication effort), and CSTL staff held 63 editorships and 180 committee memberships in standards organizations and helped organize numerous conferences and workshops. CSTL had 10 patents licensed, accounting for 21 percent of the NIST total in fiscal year 1998, and has 29 patents currently active, 6 submitted, 1 awarded, and 19 pending. The laboratory has 21 Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with industry, accounting for 15 percent of the NIST total. CSTL efforts resulted in the sale of over 24,000 SRMs and over 4,400 Standard Reference Databases (SRDs), which accounted for 66 percent and 90 percent of the NIST total, respectively. Laboratory staff conducted 642 calibrations. There are numerous examples in the divisional reports of fundamental research that has a long-term impact on industry, often by augmenting research on specific technical needs for current and long-term measurement capabilities. This past year the effort of the laboratory to continue critical programs for industry and to plan for future initiatives has been highly effective. The data clearly reflect that there continues to be an ever-increasing demand for the services provided to industry by the laboratory. CSTL conducted several economic impact studies in fiscal year 1998, which demonstrate well the effectiveness of the work of the laboratory on the economic growth of U.S. industry. For example, an independent economic assessment of the alternative refrigerants program based on a conservative analysis of direct benefits to manufacturers of refrigerants and refrigeration equipment yielded a cost/benefit ratio of 3.9 and an internal rate of return of at least 433 percent. Economic impact studies currently under way in the laboratory include evaluations of the CSTL work on the SRMs for cholesterol measurements, DNA profiling, and sulfur in fossil fuel. The laboratory has also improved its dissemination of technical information. CSTL continues to increase utilization of the Internet to disseminate information, as highlighted by the Chemistry WebBook. The quality, format, and organization of the Web pages for CSTL vary from division to division, sometimes from project to project. The panel believes that ways to standardize the sites and increase the ease of use should be explored at the laboratory level. The panel was pleased to see an updated release of the kinetic database and increased distribution of the NIST/Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) Mass Spectral Library. The impact of the dissemination of this scientific information will be felt across multiple scientific fields. The databases are enabling technologies for scientific analysis of materials and compounds requiring spectroscopic evaluation. The NIST Traceable Reference Materials (NTRM) Program is an excellent example of the ongoing effort of the CSTL to provide traceable resources to a broad spectrum of industries without placing an undue burden on laboratory staff. Further observations about the NTRM Program are provided in the section on the Analytical Chemistry Division. Two CSTL projects exemplify the laboratory's impact on U.S. industry. DNA measurements and standards have had a major impact on the forensic use of DNA technology. The FBI and other crime laboratories requested a suitable SRM in 1988, and the first DNA-profiling SRM was released in 1992. SRM 2390 received an R|andsymbol|D 100 Award and was a major factor in the establishment of the DNA Advisory Board through the 1994 Crime Bill. Accuracy
OCR for page 60
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 of human identification through DNA analysis was enhanced in 1995 by the release of an updated reference material, SRM 2391. Additional support is provided with a Short Tandem Repeat DNA Internet database. Forensic identification and medical detection were enhanced by the production of SRM 2392, the first mitochondrial DNA standard. Anecdotal support, as well as strong sales of the SRM, continue to provide evidence of the value of this activity to society, both in the conviction and exoneration of individuals accused of crimes. An authoritative economic impact evaluation of the DNA SRMs is under way. Alternative refrigerants came to the attention of the public and scientific community with the Montreal Protocol in 1987. Industry needed property data and design tools to identify the most likely replacement working fluids to replace chlorofluorocarbon and hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants. CSTL has had 40 years of experience in fluid properties and possesses the capabilities to make experimental measurements over a broad range of temperature and pressure. In addition to providing data and models, the laboratory staff created a database of refrigerant properties (REFPROP), which provides easy access to property data on numerous pure fluids and a range of mixtures for engineers and researchers. The information has been adopted as an industry standard and is distributed through a number of professional and technical organizations, including the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers, and several companies.
OCR for page 61
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Laboratory Resources Funding sources3 for the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (in millions of dollars) are as follows: Fiscal Year 1998 Fiscal Year 1999 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 37.8 39.0 Competence 2.0 2.4 ATP 3.0 2.8 Measurement Services (SRM Production) 2.3 2.1 OA/NFG/CRADA 9.6 12.6 Other Reimbursable 3.0 2.8 Total 57.7 61.7 As of January 1999, staffing for the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory included 276 full-time permanent positions, of which 240 were for technical professionals. There were also 127 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers, in addition to 229 guest researchers. Positions opened by previous retirements led to significant hires in 1998 in CSTL management and technical positions. Excellent candidates were identified through aggressive advertising, and key hires were made in a timely fashion. CSTL researchers are involved in several interlaboratory projects. The panel was pleased to note that the appropriate division and laboratory resources were allocated to these projects and that additional incentives were not necessary to encourage such activities. The majority of the laboratory funding is from internal NIST sources, though other agency funding was received from the Air Force, Navy, Army, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Health and Human Services, EPA, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Defense Nuclear Agency, and others. The diversity of OA funding shows the broad scope of work undertaken by the laboratory and reduces the dependence on outside funding from any one agency. The ability to do world-class measurements attests to the caliber of the facilities, equipment, and human resources allocated to the CSTL projects. Building I-B at the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology (CARB) was finished in 1998, adding 28,000 square feet 3 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 for Calibration Services, is grouped under Other Reimbursable.
OCR for page 62
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 for biotechnology research to the original CARB facility. Construction was completed on the Advanced Chemical Sciences Laboratory (ACSL), which will provide 82,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory and office space. Relocation of the Analytical Chemistry Division and the Biotechnology Division is occurring throughout 1999. Facilities improvement continues to be a major issue for the three remaining divisions: Process Measurements, Surface and Microanalysis Science, and Physical and Chemical Properties. Relocation of selected groups from these divisions to the Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML) is essential. Although it is anticipated that NIST's fiscal year 2000 congressional appropriations will allow construction of the AML to begin, the anticipated completion date is at least 5 years away. Refurbishment of the existing buildings must begin as soon as possible, and CSTL must develop a facility plan to address the period prior to completion of the AML. Concerns regarding capital equipment funding for specific programs appear in the divisional reports. In general, though, the operational lifetime of scientific hardware is highly limited, and funding must be carefully monitored to assure that needed funds are being appropriated to the key areas to maximize the impact to U.S. industry. DIVISIONAL REVIEWS Biotechnology Division Division Mission According to division documentation, the mission of the Biotechnology Division is to provide measurement infrastructure necessary to advance the commercialization of biotechnology by developing the scientific/engineering technical base, reliable measurements, standards, data, and models to enable U.S. industry to quickly and economically produce biochemical products with appropriate quality control. A challenge to the division is the rapid growth of biotechnology, where entirely new approaches can be invented, commercialized, and become obsolete in fewer than 5 years. In light of this situation, the division does an excellent job of meeting its mission. The panel suggests that the division may wish to consider adding the words “create” and “use” to “provide” at the beginning of the mission statement. This modification reflects the breadth of effort in the division, where the work ranges from fundamental research to the development of important standards materials and methods. The division has established a variety of long-range research programs to maintain critical expertise needed for the development of advanced measurement methods, SRMs, and databases for use by industry and other research enterprises. These activities foster collaboration among NIST scientists conducting biotechnology research and raise the quality and visibility of the NIST biotechnology program, which leads to enhanced collaborations with industry, universities, and other government agencies. The dynamic nature of the biotechnology-related industries requires an evolving Biotechnology Division that strengthens selected existing programs while developing new technical expertise in emerging areas. The division participates in the annual laboratory-wide reprogramming activity in which current and proposed projects are quantitatively ranked
OCR for page 63
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 according to specified criteria, such as industrial requirements and match to mission, in order to allow CSTL programs to evolve in response to changing measurements and standards needs and to take advantage of new technologies. This process has successfully allowed the Biotechnology Division to build an appropriate portfolio of activities; however, the panel believes that the division could more fully exploit available opportunities by: Expanding the DNA technologies effort to match the commercial demand; Emphasizing specific biomolecular surfaces and model systems useful to U.S. industries, e.g., sensors, diagnostics, and pharmaceutical research; Building expertise in bioprocessing and focusing on developing measurement techniques and reference data for the bioprocessing industry; and Emphasizing the expansion in bioinformatics related to the Protein DataBank. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The Biotechnology Division comprises four groups: DNA Technologies, Bioprocess Engineering, Biomolecular Materials, and Structural Biology. The following section discusses some of the key programs and issues ongoing in these areas. The DNA Technologies Group engages in DNA and molecular biology research to enhance measurement technologies in mutation detection and genetic toxicology and to provide SRMs relating to the detection and characterization of DNA. The work conducted in DNA technologies in general, and bioinformatics especially, seems very compelling based on the global utility of these technologies. Use of short tandem repeats (STRs) by crime laboratories throughout the world is rapidly becoming the standard method of human identification. Continued collaboration between the division and the forensic testing community led to development of a NIST Web site providing information on STRs, including a database of all currently used genetic testing systems. SRMs developed and supplied by the group continue to be a critical component of this methodology. Completion of interlaboratory testing occurred in 1997 for the new SRM 2392 for human mitochondrial DNA, and in fiscal year 1998, validation and sequencing studies were completed. Production of SRM 2392 is scheduled for 1999. The DNA Technologies Group has developed molecular-scale methods to characterize DNA damage at levels approaching one base pair per million. The group has used these methods to study the kinetics and specificity of DNA repair by newly discovered enzymes. It also uses this technique to quantify cell death and DNA damage resulting from administration of individual and combined drugs for human immunodeficiency virus treatments. The Bioprocess Engineering Group focuses on the development of measurement methods, databases, and generic technologies related to the use of biomaterials in manufacturing. Protein biospectroscopy measurement methods and data have been developed that will lead to improved understanding of intra- and interprotein electron transfer processes. A new initiative to develop fluorescence intensity standards has also been launched this year in response to industry and government needs. This program is consistent with the mission of developing improved standards and supports the general trend in biotechnology and medical diagnostics to provide quantitative measurements.
OCR for page 64
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Chromatography and microcalorimetry measurements have been combined with chemical equilibrium analysis to study the biothermodynamics of enzyme-catalyzed reactions in industrially important biotransformations, such as the metabolic pathway to chorismate (converting glucose to aromatic amino acids). Such analyses supply a critical source of data to process engineering for the chemical, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries not accessible from industrial or academic sources. For this program to meet the long-term needs of companies in these areas, it will be important to continue to emphasize industrial needs, which can best be understood through close industrial relationships and collaborations, analysis of Web site hits, attendance at workshops, and meetings to provide an ongoing assessment of the NIST program. The panel encourages further collaboration with molecular groups within NIST and CARB to assist in both defining needs for targeting future efforts and refining communication on the value of this type of data to the target industrial audience of bioprocess engineering. Research projects in biocatalytic systems focus on enzyme characterization by site-directed mutagenesis, 15N nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction of protein crystals, and computational chemistry. These techniques are being used to address focused, industrially important biotransformation problems such as hydroxylation and aromatic amino acid metabolic pathways. The Biomolecular Materials Group examines control over biological molecules at interfaces. Chemically controlled surfaces engineered for specific biomolecular interactions are essential components of biosensors, bioelectronics, biocatalytic systems, and many diagnostic devices. The group has made progress in this research by fabricating a rugged artificial membrane system, composed of both artificial and natural lipid components, which mimics cell membranes. This unique membrane matrix is important both as a research tool and potentially as a commercial development. The group has progressed in research on the chemistries needed to attach the lipids to a surface. The group has also developed infrared (IR) ellipsometry and neutron reflectivity techniques to explore structural characteristics of biological molecules such as cell membrane receptors, optically active proteins, and redox enzymes and the relationship between structure and functional activity. Molecular structure information is also provided by IR and surface plasmon resonance-enhanced Raman spectroscopies and by nonlinear optical spectroscopies. Genetically engineered proteins are used in systematic studies of how structural changes in membrane proteins lead to functional changes. An important challenge for the group is to focus on developing new standards and measures of membrane systems for the pharmaceutical, medical diagnostic, and biotechnology industries. The division's Structural Biology Group, housed at CARB, focuses on four key areas of industrial biotechnology: macromolecular structure determination by x-ray crystallography; molecular structure and dynamics elucidation by high-field NMR spectroscopy; physical, molecular, and cellular biochemistry; and computational biochemistry and modeling. CARB established close links in fiscal year 1998 with several local industrial organizations, such as the Institute for Genomic Research (the world leader in genomic sequencing) and Life Technologies, Inc. A new area of focus for the x-ray crystallography and modeling groups has been the enzymes involved in the chorismate pathway. This effort is part of a division-wide activity aimed at the vitally important industrial area of metabolic engineering.
OCR for page 65
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 The group has begun a new enterprise to construct a comprehensive database for molecular recognition. An initial area of focus, recommended at two workshops by academic, government, and industrial scientists, is on calorimetry data as applied to host-guest interactions. Impact of Programs It is clear to the panel that this division will have a significant impact on the biotechnology industry. For example, the Bioinformatics Group has the potential to generate significant economic impact through sequence, functional, and structural data analysis. The level and size of the industrial need in this area is so great that it will be essential for the division to maintain its focus on areas of greatest impact. The panel is impressed by the effectiveness of the division's dissemination of scientific accomplishments. It published 96 manuscripts in 1998, ranging from protein structure determination to methods for p53 mutation analysis. The group has been active at numerous professional conferences and sponsored workshops, including the Workshop on Calorimetry. The group organized a well-attended workshop, “Standards for Nucleic Acid Diagnostic Applications,” to determine appropriate standards for nucleic acid diagnostics needed by the emerging molecular diagnostics community. Presentations at this meeting covered specific standardization needs common to molecular diagnostic instrumentation, as well as methods to assist this community in measurement techniques and critical quality assurance procedures. NIST staff have also established and maintained a number of Internet databases such as the STR DNA Database and the Biological Macromolecule Crystallization Database (BMCD), and they have cross-referenced the BMCD with the Nucleic Acid Database at Rutgers University. The efforts in this area are outstanding, and the panel encourages NIST to continue this work at the current level. The panel believes that the Biomolecular Materials and Bioprocess Engineering Groups need to strengthen external discussions to generate a more broadly informed view of industrial needs. They will need to form partnerships or consortia with leaders in these fields to have the greatest impact on U.S. commerce. The new, state-of-the-art laboratories in CARB I-B were completed, equipped, and occupied in fiscal year 1998. Over 200 scientists from academic, government, and industrial laboratories attended an unveiling symposium, which focused on important issues in structural biotechnology. Additionally, the space will house temporarily the new Protein Data Bank, which has been awarded to the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB), a collaboration initiated by the division in fiscal year 1998. This year's efforts have focused on interactions with scientists from Rutgers University, the University of California San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the NIST SRD Program. This organization provides a unique framework for the development of Web-based resources of general interest to the academic, private, and industrial research communities. The RCSB will assume the responsibilities of managing and distributing the Protein Data Bank during fiscal year 1999.
OCR for page 78
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 division's mission and resources, and the impact that NIST's response would have. The panel believes this mechanism provides excellent and effective priority-setting and project assessment criteria. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work The Physical and Chemical Properties Division conducts work that is unsurpassed in making fundamental measurements of thermodynamic properties. The research skill level of the scientists and engineers in the division continues to be unexcelled. This is exemplified by several areas in which the laboratory methodology is clearly Best in the World. An example is the multifaceted application of acoustic resonator physics in the Fluid Science Group. The division's activities are split between Gaithersburg and Boulder, and the staff are organized into eight technical groups: Process Separations, Fluid Science, Experimental Kinetics and Thermodynamics, Chemical Reference Data and Modeling, Computational Chemistry, Experimental Properties of Fluids, Theory and Modeling of Fluids, and Cryogenic Technologies. The Process Separations Group researches industrially important separation unit operations, including distillation, supercritical fluid extraction, adsorption, and membrane separations through carefully designed laboratory measurements and correlation of measured and retrieved data. This work provides critically evaluated data and models needed to design more efficient and cost-effective separation processes. Current activities include developing solvatochromic screening procedures for alternative solvents; compiling databases for chromatographic analysis of natural gas mixtures, odorants, and alternative refrigerants; and improving methods for chromatographic analysis of the C6+ fraction of fuel gas condensates. The group also measures vapor-liquid equilibria of reactive mixtures and mixed-waste model systems and membrane diffusion by attenuated total reflectance spectroscopy. The panel looks forward to data measurement from the azeotropic distillation equipment, which has been under development for several years. The Fluid Science Group uses acoustic resonators, capacitors, and other novel methodologies to measure thermodynamic and transport properties of fluids. These state-of-the-art extraordinarily high-precision techniques are also investigated as potential next-generation primary standards for temperature, pressure, and low flow rates. Current activities include development of acoustic transducers for use in primary thermometry up to 700 K; measurement of the speed of sound of semiconductor process gases to derive ideal-gas heat capacities, volumetric virial coefficients, and transport properties to support process modeling and accurate calibration of flow-metering devices; development of laboratory standards for accurate measurement of the viscosity and Prandtl number of industrially important gas mixtures; and development of an ultrastable cross capacitor for use as a primary pressure standard from 0.4 to 4 MPa. The Experimental Kinetics and Thermodynamics Group uses a wide range of state-of-the-art measurement techniques to obtain kinetic and thermochemical data on industrially important chemical species. It also certifies SRMs for thermodynamic properties. Current activities include development of a broad database for advanced oxidation technologies used for waste treatment; measurement of the effects of industrial compounds in the environment; study of the thermodynamics of industrially important materials and processes; and development of new capabilities, such as use of ring-down spectroscopy, to characterize surfaces and thin films.
OCR for page 79
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 The group also has proposed a new initiative, the Next Generation Chemical Kinetics Database, to support detailed chemical modeling of gas-phase chemical processes. This proposal will supplement experimental data with extrapolation and prediction tools. The Chemical Reference Data and Modeling Group compiles, evaluates, correlates, and disseminates SRDs. It also develops and disseminates electronic databases and software for thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, mass spectroscopy, and IR spectra. The group, in collaboration with EPA and NIH, supports the Mass Spectral (MS) Library and added the Automated MS Deconvolution and Identification System to allow more systematic evaluation of spectra. It has also continued development of the NIST Chemistry WebBook. The NIST Chemistry WebBook is one of the premier projects in the CSTL and this division. It was developed as a tool to provide a flexible, easy-to-use interface for access to chemical data on the Internet and makes NIST reference data quickly available to the widest possible audience. An increasing user base has paralleled the WebBook's evolution through five editions, and the current version contains data on over 31,000 chemicals (up from 11,000 in the first edition). Data coverage has been greatly extended in 1998; new classes of information include heat capacity in the condensed phase, vapor pressure (both single boiling points and as a function of temperature), IR- and ultraviolet-visible spectra, and energy levels associated with small-molecule and radical electronic and vibrational spectra. Data on mass spectra and water solubility of organic compounds have also been added. In parallel, NIST-evaluated data collections have been added, such as proton affinity, equations-of-state on a number of industrial fluids, and data for diatomic molecules. Improvements in user access have continued. Searching by substructure and complete structure have been added to searching by name (with a very extensive list of synonyms and common and trade names), formula, and Chemical Abstracts Registry Number. In addition, drop-down menus now define functional groups for which data are sought. The panel believes that one of the recently added sections in the NIST Chemistry WebBook labeled “water solubility” should be labeled “Henry's law constant.” The panel suggests that when resources permit, the WebBook should gain a new section labeled “water solubility” that contains composition data on coexisting saturated aqueous and organic liquid phases (liquid-liquid equilibrium). The Computational Chemistry Group develops and applies computational chemistry methods for estimation and prediction of the chemical and physical properties of molecules. Last year's formation of this group has resulted in a substantial enhancement in NIST's ability to provide critical evaluation of existing literature data and construction of readily accessible databases. It has also developed chemical methodology for calculating transition states, including application of Density Functional Theory, and for total cross sections for electron impact ionization, which builds on existing expertise in the NIST Physics Laboratory. The group has had close interactions with the Experimental Kinetics and Thermodynamics and Chemical Reference Data and Modeling Groups, providing theoretical guidance for evaluation of thermochemical and kinetic properties. The Experimental Properties of Fluids Group measures high-accuracy comprehensive thermophysical and transport property data on technically important pure fluids and mixtures, including hydrocarbons, organic and inorganic chemicals, refrigerants, and aqueous systems. In addition, the group develops unique, state-of-the-art apparatus to measure thermodynamic and transport properties of fluids and fluid mixtures over wide ranges of temperature, pressure, and composition. Current activities include development and construction of a low-vapor-pressure-
OCR for page 80
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 effusion apparatus and heat-of-vaporization calorimeter; construction and validation of an apparatus for the simultaneous measurement of vapor-liquid equilibrium and interfacial tension; and application of vibrating-wire, torsional-crystal, and capillary viscometers to precision measurements of fluid viscosities over broad ranges of temperature and pressure. The current generation of the vapor/liquid equilibrium-surface tension apparatus has been under development for several years. The panel looks forward to data measurement from this unique equipment. The Theory and Modeling of Fluids Group performs theoretical and computational research on the thermophysical properties of fluids and fluid mixtures, including regions of fluid-fluid and fluid-solid phase separation. It develops high-accuracy models and correlations to describe and predict the thermophysical properties of fluids and fluid mixtures. It also provides comprehensive and evaluated SRD and electronic databases. The group has begun fundamental theoretical studies of the fluid-solid transition. Additional studies include structure evolution and rheology of gelling colloidal silica by neutron scattering and rheometry and computer simulation of shear-induced restructuring of colloidal silica gels. The staff are using an extended corresponding states model to develop standard thermodynamic surfaces for fluids. In October 1998, the group published a new tabulation of the thermodynamic properties of water from the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam 1995 Formulation. The Cryogenic Technologies Group develops improved measurement and modeling techniques for characterizing basic cryocooler components and processes and state-of-the-art cryocoolers for specific applications. The group also provides measurement methods, standards, and services for flow under cryogenic conditions and assists U.S. industry in the development of new and improved products utilizing cryogenic processes. Current activities include achievement of technology transfer status for the cryogenic catheter for treatment of heart arrhythmia and abnormal uterine bleeding and measurement and correlation of microscale heat transfer for cryogenic applications. In collaboration with the Mathematical and Computational Sciences Division, group staff have developed a computer model of the behavior of regenerative heat exchangers, which has become the standard model in the field for predicting the behavior of cryocoolers. The group has measured the performance of several types of cryocoolers, including the new pulse tube refrigerator. The miniature pulse tube refrigeration unit was used on the April 1998 Space Shuttle mission, and NASA intends to continue use of such pulse tubes to cool IR sensors. NIST is currently working with NASA's Johnson Space Center on developing methods for liquefaction of atmospheric oxygen on Mars for use in rocket liftoff from Mars to return rock samples to Earth in the year 2007. Plans are now under development for NIST to assist the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the development of pulse tube cryocoolers for detector cooling in the Millimeter Array telescope to be built in the Andes Mountains. Over the past 10 years, the pulse tube technology has been transferred to dozens of companies through publications and short courses, as well as contracts and CRADAs. A cryogenic grinding unit designed to increase friability and retention of volatile toxic compounds was completed in 1998.
OCR for page 81
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Impact of Programs All the groups in the Physical and Chemical Properties Division are making a strong, well-directed effort to convey their results to the scientific and engineering communities through a variety of mechanisms. During fiscal year 1998, the staff published 190 papers (31 percent of CSTL output), delivered 104 talks (17 percent), served on 122 committees (23 percent), and presented 59 seminars (36 percent). In the 240 days since it was released, the fourth edition of the WebBook was visited from over 129,000 distinct hosts, each of which may have served a number of users. On average, the WebBook has between 5,000 and 10,000 users per week, and 40 to 50 percent of these hits are from returning, i.e., serious, users. Many sites access the WebBook daily. The division uses multiple approaches to identify industry needs and develop programs to assure that its work will have impact. Significant evidence of the value of divisional programs is also seen in industrial funding of projects, either through corporate grants or purchase of data products. Examples of close interaction with industry and/or responses to an industry problem include the proposed measurement of phase equilibria for ethylene glycol/water for aircraft and runway deicer recovery systems, the development of cryogenic catheters, and the measurement and modeling of flow boiling heat transfer rates in microgeometries for use in catheters to cool blood flow to the brain. Division Resources Funding sources for the Physical and Chemical Properties Division (in millions of dollars) are as follows: Fiscal Year 1998 Fiscal Year 1999 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 8.7 8.7 Competence 0.1 0.1 ATP 0.4 0.3 OA/NFG/CRADA 4.0 4.2 Other Reimbursable 0.1 0.2 Total 13.3 13.5 The panel is encouraged to see that the percentage of OA funding has decreased from 35 percent in fiscal year 1997 to 30 percent in fiscal year 1998, but the large amount of external support still causes problems throughout the division. OA money is becoming more difficult to acquire, and the funding agencies and companies are requiring unreasonable levels of cost-sharing. Although division management would prefer the level of external support to be closer to the CSTL average of 17 percent, competing for grants and other funds is a healthy process that ensures the division research teams remain at the forefront of their fields. As of January 1999, staffing for the Physical and Chemical Properties Division included 65 full-time permanent positions, of which 54 were for technical professionals. There were also 24 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part
OCR for page 82
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 time workers. The division staff are split approximately equally between Gaithersburg and Boulder. The skills of the personnel in the Physical and Chemical Properties Division are complementary, unique, and highly valued. NIST personnel form virtually the world's only remaining teams actively involved in making fundamental measurements of thermodynamic properties. The strong synergism between experiment and theory, made possible by the interactions within and among the various groups, improves the quality of the work. A specific example is the rapidity with which the Computational Chemistry Group has become tightly integrated with both the experimental and reference data groups at Gaithersburg. Similar strong connections had previously been established in Boulder and continue to work well. In Gaithersburg, division staff are generally satisfied with the physical facilities, although in certain laboratories, the mechanisms to ensure air cleanliness, dust control, and air filtration are insufficient; the quality, capacity, and reliability of the power supply are problematic; and the exhaust and ventilation systems are inadequate. Future laser-based optical studies will require cleaner rooms and better vibration control. However, the current quality of the laboratories is comparable to that of facilities at research-oriented universities. In Boulder, the division's laboratory space in Building 2 is generally adequate; the two most significant infrastructure problems have recently been addressed by installing a new HVAC system for this building and increasing power capacity and quality. However, Building 2 is currently overcrowded because laboratory space in Building 3 is inadequate. Problems associated with Building 3 include practically no temperature control; extremely poor air cleanliness, dust control, and air filtration; unreliable, low-quality, low-capacity power; poor lighting; and a leaky exterior shell. The situation is expected to improve when NOAA personnel vacate the site and space in Building 2 is made available for NIST researchers. However, the timing for this transition remains uncertain. Meanwhile, these facilities problems are having a strong negative effect on the division's work and ability to carry out its mission. Analytical Chemistry Division Division Mission According to division documentation, the mission of the Analytical Chemistry Division is to serve as the nation's reference laboratory for chemical measurements and standards to enhance U.S. industry 's productivity and competitiveness; assure equity in trade; and provide quality assurance for chemical measurements used for assessing and improving public health, safety, and the environment. The Analytical Chemistry Division is the fundamental chemical metrology component of CSTL and NIST, and the division mission is fully and effectively integrated into the overall mission and goals of both. Divisional programs provide measurement standards, accurate and reliable compositional data, and research in measurement science. CSTL has placed a priority on international comparability of measurements, and the staff of this division is taking a leadership role in this intercomparability effort. The division continues to be well managed and is clearly focused on fiscal responsibility. The division programs demonstrate the fundamental role that maintaining U.S. standards and standard methodology play in the division's mission. There is, however, a delicate balance
OCR for page 83
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 between a commitment to develop and to supply new SRMs and the need to maintain and resupply existing SRMs. The panel remains concerned that the standards maintenance program appears to be overshadowing the research into measurement science and new standards development. The breadth of coverage of measurement standards must remain a priority to assure the competitiveness of U.S. industry. All division research and service projects are reviewed on an annual basis to assess the quality of work and fit with the mission and industry needs. The division is using a formal system to assess relevancy and to prioritize programs and projects. The panel encourages continuous attention to the process to assure that the best projects are supported. The Analytical Chemistry Division needs to continue strategic evaluation to determine those technical competencies for which it should be best-in-class, state-of-the-art, or a nonparticipant. They cannot and should not attempt to be best-in-class in all areas. The driving force for developing or maintaining best-in-class capability should be based on critical needs of U.S. industry. Project effectiveness may be better demonstrated by clear comparison of objectives and milestones to demonstrated results. Indicators of success may include new SRMs, NTRMs, publications, and leadership involvement in international comparability studies. Although industry roadmaps are not available for this laboratory, the division does conduct industry focus groups to provide similar inputs. Technical Merit and Appropriateness of Work Overall, the technical merit of the work in the Analytical Chemistry Division was exceptional, and the results produced in the division are of vital importance to U.S. industry. The entire staff is dedicated to a quality process that drives much of their activities. Programs of particular note include the expansion into microfluidic measurements, expansion of high-precision optical emission spectrometry (OES) methodology to support spectrometric NTRM programs, novel methods to isolate and identify proteins and biomarkers in biological matrices, continued development of techniques and methodologies focusing cold neutron beams for analytical applications, and the revitalization of the division's classical chemistry capability. Research activities in the division focus on chemical measurements as made by high-performance analytical tools such as mass spectrometry, microsampling/detection technologies, state-of-the-art separations methods, classical analytical methods, gas metrology, nuclear analytical methods, organic analytical methods, and spectrochemical measurement methods. These programs are carried out within five groups: Spectrochemical Methods (newly renamed), Organic Analytical Methods, Gas Metrology and Classical Methods, Molecular Spectrometry and Microfluidic Methods, and Nuclear Methods. The division is nearing the end of a 3-year restructuring that includes establishing a strategic plan for division research and service activities, adjusting the funding profile, and improving the division's delivery of standards. The Spectrochemical Methods Group focuses on the development, critical evaluation, and application of methods for the identification and measurement of inorganic chemical species using x-ray, optical, and mass spectrometry. This group continues to make considerable investments in capital equipment; this year's major purchase is a glow discharge optical emission spectrometer (GD-OES). One of last year's acquisitions, a wavelength-dispersive x-ray fluorescence (WD XRF) spectrometer, will be used to expand this group's presence in the standards program and was recently used to renew three new standards for the $4 billion cement
OCR for page 84
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 industry. This group continues to expand the application of high-precision inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) methodology. The performance of high-precision ICP-OES rivals classical methods and will continue to have a favorable impact on group effectiveness. The ICP-OES technology is well suited for transfer to the private sector and is being used in the development of an NTRM Program for spectrochemical solutions. The resulting outsourcing of the routine certification of spectrochemical solutions will enable the spectrochemical group to spend more time on the advancement of measurement science and the development of new standards. The Organic Analytical Methods Group focuses its research and application efforts on the areas of clinical, nutritional, environmental, and forensic analysis, with priority given to national and international measurement comparability. There is a heavy emphasis on high-resolution mass spectrometric methods to unequivocally identify species isolated at low concentrations by various separation techniques. Because of the difficulty of working with small samples, the group has used supercritical fluid extraction to assure homogeneity in the extraction of organic contaminants in natural environmental matrices such as air and diesel particulate. Solid-phase microextraction has been developed to concentrate and purify trace amounts of methylmercury and alkyl tins in fish, mussel, and oyster tissue and blood. Methods to extract drugs quantitatively from within human hair samples have confirmed that residues from drug users are enriched in the nonnaturally occurring enantiomer of the drug, whereas residue on the surface of the hair from casual exposure to smoke contains both enantiomers. Hyphenated high-resolution mass spectroscopy has been used to detect and quantify proteins and biomarkers in biological matrices (troponin-I, a marker for myocardial infarction; glycohemoglobin, a marker for diabetes; serum thyroxine, a marker for thyroid function; and cortisol, a marker for endocrine function). Capillary electrochromatography methods have been developed to separate isomers of beta-carotene and other carotenoids of significance in food. In fiscal year 1998, the Organic Analytical Methods Group recertified or redeveloped 11 environmental SRMs, 14 chemical/pesticide SRMs, 5 clinical SRMs, 4 food/nutritional SRMs, and 8 miscellaneous SRMs in addition to developing 7 new SRMs and renewing 3 SRMs in the above categories. Staff in this group published seven significant papers in their field this year, and collaborations are ongoing with the NOAA, EPA, National Cancer Institute, College of American Pathologists, National Institute of Justice (OLES), Defense Special Weapons Agency, Department of Defense, and a number of international metrological agencies. The Gas Metrology and Classical Methods Group focuses on a variety of activities, including gas metrology, classical wet chemical methods (such as gravimetry and titrimetry), coulometry, ion chromatography, optical spectroscopy, and maintenance of the theoretical infrastructure for pH and conductivity measurements. One of the very significant accomplishments by this group in 1998 has been the successful conclusion of a long-standing debate over the pH scale. NIST staff provided leadership on the adoption of a singular approach to measuring pH. Research has continued on development of an open-path, Fourier transform IR (FTIR) database for quantitative measurements of EPA-designated hazardous air pollutants. A CD-ROM containing 21 compounds, including 525 spectra, has been developed. This group is actively involved in international comparisons with European collaborators on measurement standards in such areas as primary gases for the automotive industry and conductivity for water quality. This program is designed to allow bilateral use of local standards in making regulatory and trade agreements with the United States. The group is actively involved in the NTRM
OCR for page 85
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Program and continues to successfully manage certification programs for specialty gas vendors that provide NIST traceable gas standards for end users. The Molecular Spectroscopy and Microfluidic Methods Group (formerly Chemical Sensing and Automation Technology Group) conducts research on the metrology of molecular spectrometry, develops standards for calibration, validates performance of instruments for measuring molecular spectra, and conducts research on microfluidic devices. In collaboration with the Process Measurements Division, this group has begun a project on microfabricated analytical devices that will receive NIST competence funding for 5 years beginning in 1999. This area is critical to U.S. industry for a wide range of applications in the environmental, pharmaceutical, forensic, and health care areas and has a potentially broad impact for the reduction of solvent usage (which would lower environmental contamination), the development of remote and portable measurement devices, and development of integrated sampling/measurement devices for faster analysis. In addition, the group has responsibility for development and certification of optical transmittance and wavelength standards. It continues to provide optical filters to calibrate the transmittance and wavelength scales of visible and ultraviolet spectrophotometers. In 1998, staff certified 124 solid absorbance filter SRMs and recertified 203 optical filter sets. The NTRM Program for optical reference material filters was expanded, and two additional workshops were conducted. A new dispersive Raman instrument was installed, and a calibration source was put together for a new project to develop Raman intensity standards. The Nuclear Methods Group continues research on the use of neutron beams as analytical probes with both prompt gamma activation analysis and neutron depth profiling. Long-term research includes development and application of cutting-edge neutron focusing technology to provide three-dimensional compositional mapping of thin film semiconductor materials. This technique has been used for nondestructive chemical characterization of metals. In addition, because of its multielement nature, it is used for analysis of chemical contaminants in the NIST specimen backing program and for compositional mapping of advanced materials, e.g., semiconductors. The development work on neutron activation mass spectrometry and measurement support for superconductivity were terminated in 1998. Impact of Programs NIST provides nearly 1,300 different types of SRMs and in fiscal year 1998 sold 37,000 SRM units to approximately 6,650 separate customers. Roughly 21,000 of these units were from the 850 different types of materials certified for chemical composition by the Analytical Chemistry Division. In addition, the division certified 73 batches of NTRMs. The combined number of types of SRMs and NTRMs available from the division has increased from 193 to 216; the number of NTRMs alone rose by about 20 percent this year. Currently, each technical group within the division manages its respective SRM and NTRM standards programs, although the division is not able to fully recover the cost of administering the NTRM Program. Recertifications of optical filters and cylinder gas standards remained constant at 325 in 1998. The panel continues to be concerned about the proportion of resources dedicated to the division's SRM and NTRM activities. Currently almost $8 million (an increase of $1.2 million from 1997) of the Analytical Chemistry Division's budget is devoted to maintenance and
OCR for page 86
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 development of standards, whereas the budget for new standards development increased by only about $200,000 over the same period. The division entered into five CRADA agreements in 1998, up one from 1997. Although such formal agreements are useful, the panel supports the division's approach of also promoting informal partnerships with industry. The division's publication record is excellent and continues to make strong contributions to the peer-reviewed literature. The project on international comparability of chemical measurements provides worldwide leadership in the development of SRMs, NTRMs, proficiency testing programs, and international intercomparisons. The panel is particularly pleased by this division's international work, as intercomparisons become more vital as trade becomes more global. The division is supporting the NIST-wide initiative to play a leadership role in intercomparability programs among national and regional standards laboratories to facilitate international trade. These activities remain the basis for formal establishment of equivalence among primary methods and standards important for global commerce. The panel applauds the group's leadership in this area. However, although the division is well situated in the international reference material community, it is lacking a coordinated effort that could have an impact on international measurement science, particularly with respect to world trade. Division Resources Funding sources for the Analytical Chemistry Division (in millions of dollars) are as follows: Fiscal Year 1998 Fiscal Year 1999 (estimated) NIST-STRS, excluding Competence 8.1 8.0 Competence 0.0 0.3 ATP 0.0 0.1 Measurement Services (SRM Production) 2.2 1.9 OA/NFG/CRADA 2.2 3.2 Other Reimbursable 1.4 1.4 Total 13.9 14.9 External funding now appears to be sufficiently low to allow independence in the division's implementation of strategic measurement science research programs. The panel encourages the division to maintain this independence and supports management's continuing efforts to reengineer delivery of SRM services. The panel welcomes the division's efforts to reduce SRM backlog, increase the ratio of new to renewal SRMs, and develop a new quality classification document for its SRM value assignment process. The panel also applauds the division's conducting bi- and multilateral comparisons of chemical measurement standards and methods with other national metrology institutes. The panel considers the NTRM Program to be excellent work and applauds its continued expansion beyond the area of gas standards. The panel recognizes that each NTRM
OCR for page 87
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 Program is unique but believes that the administrative burden that NTRMs place on the scientists would be eased by placing the standard processes within a dedicated organization. Another concern of the panel is the apparent proprietary nature of company-specific NTRMs. Either the cost of development and certification for these NTRMs needs to be more fully recovered or the licensed company should provide these standards to the industry for a reasonable price. As of January 1999, staffing for the Analytical Chemistry Division included 66 full-time permanent positions, of which 61 were for technical professionals. There were also 31 nonpermanent and supplemental personnel, such as postdoctoral research associates and part-time workers. The division hired four new personnel in 1998, but because of attrition, the programs are still understaffed. Several experienced personnel retired in 1998, and more are anticipated to retire shortly. Postdoctoral research associates are used efficiently to conduct research and as a source for permanent hires. The panel is also pleased that critical vacancies have been filled in the area of classical analytical chemistry and that necessary personnel have been added to the Gas Metrology and Classical Methods Group to support the SRM Program. The division is moving into new facilities in the Advanced Chemical Sciences Laboratory (ACSL) in 1999. The panel is pleased to note that plans are in place that will hopefully produce a smooth transition to the new space with as little disruption to current activities as possible. On a longer time scale, division management needs to continue to maintain and revise its 5-year capital plan to adequately address future needs and analytical capabilities. MAJOR OBSERVATIONS The panel presents the following major observations. The technical merit of the work in the focus areas of the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (CSTL) continues to be of a very high level and quality. Benchmarking activities determined that several of the technical efforts in the areas of chemical and physical measurements, such as the CSTL standards in temperature, moles, pressure, humidity, and flow rate, are the Best in the World or at least at the state-of-the-art level. The technical results produced and the services performed at the CSTL continue to be of vital importance for the advancement of U.S. industry. The process for project/program assessment put in place by CSTL is well documented and provides a good example for other NIST laboratories. The true value of this tool is the way managers use it to focus discussions and decisions on project initiation and conclusion. The operational lifetime of scientific hardware is limited. A long-term capital equipment plan should be developed and reexamined regularly. The facility's inadequacy for performing state-of-the-art measurement work remains an issue. Funding appears to be in place for the Advanced Measurement Laboratory, but the anticipated occupancy is at least 5 years away. Therefore it is important to develop a plan for upgrading the present facilities and to determine an implementation schedule for that plan. The Web-based data dissemination is of vital importance and must be carefully reviewed for uniformity among divisions regarding standardization of data presentation, ease of use, and maintenance of user privacy.
OCR for page 88
An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Measurement and Standards Laboratories: Fiscal Year 1999 The laboratory overall continues to address topics raised by the panel in a timely and receptive manner; the panel was especially pleased to note that the update to the gas-phase kinetic database has finally been released by the Physical and Chemical Properties Division. In the spirit of continuous improvement, the panel encourages the laboratory to continue to carefully consider the recommendations documented in the detailed divisional reports. In particular, the panel remains concerned about the costs associated with the NTRM Program and the commercial distribution of the reference materials. This activity is an excellent approach to efficiently providing industry with reliable reference materials, but the panel would like to see a proactive management plan to appropriately allocate the costs and responsibilities within NIST and at commercial companies.
Representative terms from entire chapter: