Nanometrology

The nanometrology is a fast developing branch of metrology - a measurement science. Contrary to majority of typical metrological disciplines the nanometrology deals not only with a single physical quantity but tries to handle issues related to the measurement of different quantities with a high lateral resolution typically on the order of nanometers. This effort often brings the need for a measurement of these quantities with a high accuracy and very small absolute values.

Nanostructures are all around us regardless made by a man or the nature. The structure and shape of the surface influence functional properties of the material having all sizes. Nevertheless, this phenomenon shows itself especially in case of a material of a small size. The shape and functional properties are inseparably connected together and our mission is to measure both of them with a highest possible accuracy.

A summary of typical procedures and techniques used in nanometrology can be arranged according to the quantities which we try to measure as shown on this page or according to the measurement techniques which we use as shown on the overview of techniques page.

If we attempt to list typical quantities which we try to measure, we get the following list:

As shown in the overview of techniques by far the most frequent device used for that kind of measurement is a scanning probe microscope (SPM). Measurements having quantitative results (a number with a known uncertainty) are, however, often not easy and for many methods it is even impossible up to now.

Czech metrology institute is not by far the only one European national metrology institute specializing in nanometrology. The emphasis put on this field is directly proportional to the industry level in each country and therefore to the most important players on the field of nanometrology belong especially Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (Germany), National Physical Laboratory (UK), Metas (Switzerland), Mikes (Finland), LNE (France), NMi (Netherlands), INRIM (Italy), and many others. The metrology institutes collaborate with each other during the development of new measurement methods and data interpretation in terms of the Euromet, EMRP and other projects.

Different aspects of nanoscale measurements are studied by numerous top-class scientific institutions in the Czech Republic, e.g. Institute of Physics ASCR, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague, or Institute of Scientific Instruments ASCR.


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Department of nanometrology and technical length
Czech Metrology Institute
Okružní 31, 638 00 Brno
pklapetek(at)cmi.cz