The Intersection of NIST, Calibration, Metrology and Traceability

“NIST closed, all measurements invalid…”  EDN Network’s Huffington Post-style headline may not have been too far from the truth when the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), like most US government agencies, was forced to temporarily close its doors. Now that the deadlock in Washington is over and the Federal government - including NIST – is on track to re-open, we are again thinking about calibration, metrology and traceability - and where the NIST fits in. 

Martin Rowe, in his EDN Network article titled “Follow the Chain to NIST-Traceable Calibrations,” describes the calibration chain using DC voltage from a working DMM to the NIST as an example. He explains, “’NIST traceable’ is a desirable pedigree. NIST traceable means that an instrument’s calibration is part of an unbroken chain of comparisons between the instrument and NIST…” Read the complete article here.

In a separate article on EDN Network, Rowe offers insights into what actually goes on in an NIST lab. You can read about the different labs he spent time in at the NIST in Gaithersburg, MD – including the resistance lab, impedance lab, DC voltage lab - in his “A Day in the Life of NIST” article.

Rowe concludes that “Metrologists tend to stay with tried-and-true equipment and procedures; new equipment and software brings a sense of questionable performance.” MAT couldn’t agree more, and has always supported its customers and their tried-and-true equipment, offering calibration and repair on unsupported and obsolete units, along with the sale of lab-certified, pre-owned test equipment.

Have questions about calibration, metrology, and traceability? Ask your questions here, and we will address them in a future blog post.