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Blog Category: Research

Two New Advanced Laboratories Open at NIST Boulder and JILA

Ribbon cutting to dedicate the new JILA X-Wing addition at the University of Colorado Boulder. Left to right: Tom O'Brian, chief of the NIST Quantum Physics Division; Philip DiStefano, Chancellor of the University of Colorado Boulder; NIST Director Patrick Gallagher; and Eric Cornell, JILA Department Chair and Nobel Laureate. ((Photo: Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado))

Two new advanced laboratory buildings for high-precision science and measurements have officially opened in Boulder, Colo., providing upgraded facilities to support technology innovation and economic growth as well as the training of future scientists.

Federal, state and local government officials, university leaders, and Nobel laureates were among those attending the April 13, 2012, dedication ceremonies and tours at the new Precision Measurement Laboratory (PML) on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) campus in Boulder and at the new X-Wing at JILA, a joint venture of NIST and the University of Colorado (CU) Boulder. JILA is located on the CU-Boulder campus.

Both new laboratories tightly control environmental conditions such as vibration and temperature, as is required for cutting-edge research with lasers, atomic clocks, nanotechnology and other areas of study at NIST and JILA. Both new buildings also have capabilities for micro- and nanofabrication of custom research devices. The original NIST-Boulder and JILA laboratories were built in the 1950s and 1960s.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher cut the ribbon to officially open the PML, which will house some of NIST's best-known experiments and technologies, including NIST-F1, the U.S. civilian standard atomic clock.

NIST Research/Collaboration Efforts Key to Innovation and Economic Growth

Computer scientist Murugiah Souppaya investigates security techniques for protecting cloud computing systems from cyber attack  (Photo © Nicholas McIntosh)

Innovation drives economic growth and creates skilled, high-wage jobs. To maintain a high standard of living for its citizens, the United States must continue to produce new, high quality products and we must sell them in the global marketplace.  As Secretary John Bryson said recently, the U.S. must “Build it here and sell it everywhere.”

Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) helps U.S. companies innovate and improve their global competitiveness by providing world class laboratory results and services, business and technology assistance, and research grants.

As we look to the start of a new calendar year, here are just a few numbers that describe how NIST helps U.S. industry and science to create and retain jobs through an innovation-based economy:

  • 8 billion:  The number of times per day that computers across the United States and the world were synchronized with NIST official time over the Internet by the end of FY2011 using the automated NIST Internet Time Service. This number is continually growing. NIST official time is essential for everything from time stamping electronic financial transactions to operation of the U.S. electrical grid to precision timing of computer networks.
  • $8.3 billion:  The amount of new and retained sales generated in FY2010 through business and technology assistance from the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership according to an FY2011 survey of participating U.S. companies. Through a network of local centers providing services in every state and Puerto Rico, the program helps companies nationwide to create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money.
  • Up to $5 billion: The amount of money the federal government may be able to save by 2015 by using cloud computing services and consolidating or closing 962 data centers as a result. In FY 2011, NIST issued a technology roadmap (PDF) to help speed the U.S. government’s adoption of cloud computing services. More than 1500 individuals from the public participated during FY2010 and FY2011 in NIST workshops to propose ways the government can exploit the cost advantages of cloud computing reliably and securely.
  • 19.1 million, 32,864, and 18,195:  The number of data sets downloaded from the Web, Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) sold and calibrations provided by NIST to help companies and researchers worldwide produce the highest quality products and scientific measurements. To name just a few examples, NIST data, SRMs and calibration services help high tech companies make computer chips with “wires” only 10s of billionths of a meter wide; build  aircraft engines made of high strength, corrosion resistant alloys; and ensure the safety of drinking water, medical tests, and pharmaceuticals.
  • 2900:  The number of guest researchers, facility users, and other associates hosted by NIST in FY 2011 from industry, academia, and government agencies. State-of-the-art technical knowledge shared through collaborations like these supports billions of dollars in sales of U.S. products that depend in some way on advanced technologies, data, and measurements. In FY 2011, NIST also had numerous patents available for licensing, had 103 formal Cooperative Research and Development Agreements in place with companies and scientific organizations, and published about more than 1,200 research papers in the open scientific literature.

NOAA Administrator Discusses NOAA Ship Research Mission to Spill Area

Alternate TextCmdr. Shepard Smith, commanding officer, Administrator Lubchenco and Larry Mayer at press conference.NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, a 208-foot survey vessel, sailed from New Orleans today to conduct a 10-day mission in the vicinity of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Researchers will take water samples and test advanced methods for detecting submerged oil while gathering oceanographic data in the area's coastal waters.

NOAA Ship Thomas JeffersonDr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, Cmdr. Shepard Smith, commanding officer, NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson and Larry Mayer, professor and director, University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping held a news conference in New Orleans to discuss the research mission. Administrator Lubchenco offered more information on the NOAA effort on a live CNN segment earlier in the day.

Tracking the Spill
NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson dispatched to Gulf of Mexico
NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson ship information and background

Commerce's NIST Issues Landmark Fire Study on Saving Lives and Property

Photo of NIST researchers outside of burning building.

A landmark study issued today by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that the size of firefighting crews has a substantial effect on the fire service's ability to protect lives and property in residential fires. Performed by a broad coalition in the scientific, firefighting and public-safety communities, the study found that four-person firefighting crews were able to complete 22 essential firefighting and rescue tasks in a typical residential structure 30 percent faster than two-person crews and 25 percent faster than three-person crews. (Release) (Report)

NOAA: U.S. Averaged Warmer-than Normal, Drier-than-Normal in March

Map of March temperature. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s State of the Climate report shows the March 2010 average temperature for the entire contiguous United States was warmer-than-average with several New England states experiencing one of the warmest March’s on record. Average precipitation for the U.S. was below normal, but heavy rainfall set March records in parts of the Northeast. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly analyses are prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. (More) (Temperatures) (Precipitation levels)

Second Round of Census Forms Mailed to 40 Million Households

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

To reduce the estimated $2.7 billion cost of following up with households that fail to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaires, the U.S. Census Bureau has begun mailing second forms to approximately 40 million housing units in areas that had below-average response rates in the 2000 Census. “Census Bureau and a multitude of private sector research shows that sending a replacement questionnaire to households can significantly increase response rates in the end,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. (More)

Deputy Secretary Hightower to Promote U.S. Innovation Agenda During Visit to Brussels

Portrait of Hightower

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower is in Brussels to promote the president’s National Innovation Strategy as a key driver for sustainable growth and quality jobs. Hightower’s visit will focus on three key building blocks to encourage innovation: investment in research, development and technology capital; promotion of competitive markets, and support for national priorities in the clean energy, advanced vehicle technology and health care sectors. Today, he delivered remarks at a luncheon hosted by the American Chambers of Commerce. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Addresses Pharmaceutical Industry Leaders at PhRMA's 52nd Annual Meeting

Locke speaking from podium. Photo copyright Max Taylor Photography.

Photo © Max Taylor

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke to leaders of the pharmaceutical industry at the annual meeting of The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in Arlington, Va. Locke discussed the importance of innovation, particularly in the pharmaceutical and biomedical sectors, to creating American jobs and spurring sustainable economic growth. He also outlined what the Obama administration is doing to jumpstart the national engine of innovation. (Remarks)

NIST Launches New Competition for Research Facility Construction Grants

NIST logo. Click to go to NIST Web site.

The Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced a new competition for grants for the construction of new or expanded scientific research buildings at institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations. NIST has $50 million available for the cost-sharing grants and anticipates funding three to five projects with grants of $10 to $15 million each. The NIST grants will fund new or expanded facilities for scientific research in fields related to measurement science, oceanography, atmospheric research or telecommunications, the research fields of the Commerce Department’s three science agencies. (More)

Secretary Locke Hosts Forum on Speeding University Research from Lab to Marketplace

Secretary Locke at podium.

File photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke hosted a forum today with university leaders, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on “Catalyzing University Research for a Stronger Economy” to address the critical importance of technology commercialization for America’s economic competitiveness and job creation. Joining Locke at the event were the presidents of several premiere universities, including Stanford, Nebraska, Akron and Kentucky. Locke and participating White House officials listened for suggestions that can improve and accelerate commercialization of federal R&D in university labs. (Remarks)

NIST's Second 'Quantum Logic Clock' is Now World's Most Precise Clock

Image of clock compared to the size of a quarter. Click for larger image.

Physicists at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built an enhanced version of an experimental atomic clock based on a single aluminum atom that is now the world’s most precise clock, more than twice as precise as the previous pacesetter based on a mercury atom. The new clock is the second version of NIST’s “quantum logic clock,” so called because it borrows the logical processing used for atoms storing data in experimental quantum computing, another major focus of the same NIST research group. (More)

NOAA, Google Join Forces to Visualize Scientific Data

NOAA logo. Click to go to NOAA home page.

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement outlining how they will work together to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works. Under the agreement, NOAA and Google plan to work together on research and development to join NOAA’s oceanographic, meteorological, biological, and climatological data with Google’s software capabilities. The wide availability of Google’s Internet tools has the potential to bring visualizations of NOAA data to new audiences around the world. (More)

NOAA Produces Images of Haiti for First Responders

Photo of plane. Click for larger image.

A specially-equipped NOAA jet conducted aerial surveys of earthquake-stricken Haiti on Jan. 17 and 18 as part of the agency’s effort to help responders assess damage and plan recovery efforts. The aircraft is equipped with high-resolution digital cameras and other sensors that collect data vital to disaster response, scientific research and environmental resource management efforts. “NOAA maintains some of the nation’s premier emergency response services,” said Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “We are proud to be of service in offering experts and expertise to help the people of Haiti during this heartbreaking time.” (More) (Haiti Earthquake Relief Web site)

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Announces Plans for Forum on R&D Commercialization at Universities

Locke at podium. Click for larger image.

Photo: National Press Club

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today his plans to host a forum with university leaders and key stakeholders on the roles of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation, and commercialization of federally funded research next month in Washington, D.C. “It’s not tenable for the United States to continue with the status quo,” Locke said at the Kauffman Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship event. (More) (Remarks)

NIST Awards $27 Million in Recovery Act Grants to Construct New Research Facilities

Artist's drawing of proposed facility at Nova Southeastern Niversity. Click for larger image.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded more than $123 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants to support the construction of new scientific research facilities at 11 universities and one non-profit research organization. With ultimate research targets ranging from off-shore wind power and coral reef ecology to quantum physics and nanotechnology, the 12 projects will launch more than $250 million in new laboratory construction projects beginning early this year. (More)

Glider Completes Historic Crossing: New Technology Advances Climate Understanding

Photo of the Scarlet Knight. Click for larger image.

The first-ever 7,300-mile Atlantic Ocean crossing by an unmanned underwater glider is opening up a new world of ocean technology. A ceremony on Dec. 9 in Baiona, Spain, will celebrate the partnership effort among the U.S. interagency Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) through Rutgers University, NOAA, Puertos Del Estado (Spanish Port Authority), the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, and other European partners. “It is through efforts like this that we will continue to learn more about the wonders of the ocean at a critical time for our planet,” said Richard Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. (More)

NOAA: North American 2008 Cooling Attributed to Natural Causes

NOAA map

Cooler North American temperatures in 2008 resulted from a strong natural effect, and the overall warming trend that has been observed since 1970 is likely to resume, according to university and NOAA scientists. “Our work shows that there can be cold periods, but that does not mean the end of global warming. The recent coolness was caused by transitory natural factors that temporarily masked the human-caused signal,” said Judith Perlwitz, lead author of the study and a researcher with the Cooperative Institute for Research Environmental Sciences, and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory. (More)

NIST: Small Nanoparticles Bring Big Improvement to Medical Imaging

Human red blood cells, in which membrane proteins are targeted and labeled with quantum dots, reveal the clustering behavior of the proteins. The number of purple features, which indicate the nuclei of malaria parasites, increases as malaria development progresses. The NIST logo at bottom was made by a photo lithography technique on a thin film of quantum dots, taking advantage of the property that clustered dots exhibit increased photoluminescence. (White bars: 1 μm; red: 10 μm.)

Credit: H. Kang / NIST and F. Tokumasu / NIAID

Click for larger image.

A joint research team, working at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), has discovered a method of using nanoparticles to illuminate the cellular interior to reveal these slow processes. Nanoparticles, thousands of times smaller than a cell, have a variety of applications. One type of nanoparticle called a quantum dot glows when exposed to light. These semiconductor particles can be coated with organic materials, which are tailored to be attracted to specific proteins within the part of a cell a scientist wishes to examine. (More)

NOAA Scientists Undertake In-Flight Study of Global Levels of Greenhouse Gas Distribution

Image of research plane with mountains in the background. Click for larger image.

Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began the second phase of a mission that will provide a detailed view of how carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are distributed globally. “Missions such as this one are critical to understanding the impacts of greenhouse gases and particulates,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., NOAA Administrator. “The data collected are also essential to help verify if policies to reduce these heat trapping pollutants are having their intended effect.” (More)

Therapeutic Nanoparticles Offer Potential as Cancer-Killers

NIST logo. Click for image: An iron-centered nanoparticle (left) has a coating of the sugar dextran, whose tendrils prevent groups of the particles from clumping. When tumor cells ingest them (right), the particles still congregate closely enough to share heat when stimulated by a magnetic field, killing the cells. White arrow indicates a red blood cell.

A research team at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) studying sugar-coated nanoparticles for use as a possible cancer therapy, has uncovered a delicate balancing act that makes the particles more effective than conventional thinking says they should be. In cooperation with The Johns Hopkins University, Dartmouth College, the University of Manitoba and two biopharmaceutical companies, the NIST team has demonstrated that the particles are potent cancer-killers because they interact with one another in ways that smaller nanoparticles do not. Click on NIST logo above for image and description or here. (More)

NOAA Joins Other U.S. Agencies and Canada to Survey Arctic Continental Shelf

Image of U.S. and Canada Coast Guard icebreakers side by side. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will join a multi-agency joint expedition that will bring together icebreakers from the U.S. and Canada to collect and share data useful to both countries in defining the full extent of the Arctic continental shelf. The Arctic survey is part of the multi-year, multi-agency effort undertaken by the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Project, led by the Department of State, with vice co-chairs from the Department of the Interior and NOAA. NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research provided key funding for the U.S. mission. (More)

NOAA and Partners to Survey Ships Sunk off North Carolina in World War II

Underwater image of shipwrecks. Clicker for larger image.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will lead a three-week research expedition in August to study World War II shipwrecks sunk in 1942 off the coast of North Carolina during the Battle of the Atlantic. The shipwrecks are located in an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” which includes sunken vessels from U.S. and British naval fleets, merchant ships and German U-boats. “The information collected during this expedition will help us better understand and document this often lost chapter of America’s maritime history and its significance to the nation,” said David W. Alberg, expedition leader and superintendent. (More)

Secretary Locke Testifies Before Senate Committee to Discuss National Climate Change Policy

Secretary Locke with Director Holdren in background. Click for larger image.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to discuss the Department’s contributions to national climate policy. Joined by Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Locke testified at a full committee hearing on “Climate Services: Solutions from Commerce to Communities.” The Department of Commerce is a leader in climate change research and monitoring, providing critical data and services to all levels of government and the private sector and helping companies and communities understand and adapt to climate change.

NIST Awards $55.5 Million in Grants for New University Research Facilities

NIST logo.

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that it was awarding a total of over $55 million in grants to four universities for the construction of new scientific research facilities. The grants, which were funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are contributing to four major construction projects to build state-of-the-art laboratory facilities devoted to a broad range of research topics, including the study of improved construction techniques to reduce losses from hurricanes, improved technologies for aquaculture, better methods and information to help preserve and maintain marine ecosystems, and advanced physics research in areas such as biophysics and nanoengineering. (More)

NOAA and University of California Sign Ground Lease for New Fisheries Center

Artist's rendering of campus and proposed buildings. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of California have signed a 55-year ground lease clearing the way for construction next year of a new federal laboratory and office center at the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus in La Jolla. “This is a key step as we prepare for construction of a world-class research facility where hundreds of federal and university scientists will investigate the entire ecosystem of fish and marine mammals off the California coast and beyond,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. (More)

NIST Releases Report on Smart Grid Development

NIST logo.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology today released for public review a report* that identifies issues and proposes priorities for developing technical standards and an architecture for a U.S. Smart Grid. The Smart Grid is a planned nationwide network that will use 21st century information technology to deliver electricity efficiently, reliably and securely, while allowing increased use of renewable power sources. The nearly 300-page report, developed and delivered to NIST by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), is available on the NIST Smart Grid Web site. (More)

Report Released on National, Regional Impacts of Global Climate Change

Image of washed-out highway by flood waters. Click for larger image.

A new report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” compiles years of scientific research and takes into account new data not available during the preparation of previous large national and global assessments. It was produced by a consortium of experts from13 U.S. government science agencies and from several major universities and research institutes. A product of the interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program, the definitive 190-page report, produced under NOAA’s leadership, is written in plain language to better inform members of the public and policymakers. (More) (Report Information)

NIST Seeks Proposals for $20 Million Recovery Act Program

NIST seal. Click to go to NIST home page.

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that it is establishing a financial assistance program to help selected institutions develop and implement a NIST measurement science and engineering fellowship program. The new program is funded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. "Measurement science and engineering research is critical to fostering innovation," NIST Deputy Director Patrick Gallagher said. "This fellowship program will create jobs and promote long-term investments in the nation's science infrastructure, which is important for future economic prosperity." (More)

NOAA Partners with National Science Foundation, Universities and Other Organizations in VORTEX2 Research Project

Image of large tornado touching the ground. Click for larger image.

The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is engaged in the largest and most ambitious attempt to study tornadoes in history and will involve more than 100 scientists and 40 research vehicles. The project, Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment2 (VORTEX2 or V2) will last for five weeks in May and June. Scientists will sample the environments of supercell thunderstorms that form over much of the U.S. but are more common in the central Great Plains known as “tornado alley.” This collaborative, nationwide research effort is jointly funded by NOAA, the National Science Foundation, 10 universities, and three nonprofit organizations. (More)

USPTO: Collegiate Inventors Competition Deadline Nears

Collegiate Inventors Competition logo.

The Commerce Department’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a presenting sponsor of the annual Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC) reminds the public of the upcoming entry deadline. The CIC is a national competition designed to encourage college and graduate students to be active in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and creative invention. This prestigious challenge recognizes and rewards the innovations, discoveries, and research by college and university students and their advisors for projects leading to inventions that may have the potential to receive patent protection. Entries must be submitted on the official application form and be postmarked by June 16, 2009. (More)

NOAA Announces New Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites

Satellite image of Hurricane Katrina. Click for larger image.

Scientists from Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have teamed up with experts from the University of Maryland and North Carolina State University to form the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites. The new institute will use satellite observations to detect, monitor and forecast climate change, and its impact on the environment, including ecosystems. “To help us understand climate change, we have to find ways to best leverage all of our available resources, including the information we get from satellites,” said Mary Kicza, assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. (More)

NOAA Researchers: Blue Whales Re-establishing Former Migration Patterns

Blue whale spouting. Click for larger image.

Scientists have documented the first known migration of blue whales from the coast of California to areas off British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska since the end of commercial whaling in 1965. In the scientific journal Marine Mammal Science, researchers from Cascadia Research Collective in Washington state, NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in California, and Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans identified 15 separate cases where blue whales were seen off British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska. (More)

New Study: Home Energy Savings Are Made in the Shade

Image of house and garage shaded by trees. Click for larger image.

Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study of California homes by researchers from Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The first large-scale study of its kind, the research paper considers the effects of shade on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento during the summer of 2007 and provides hard statistics showing how well-placed shade trees can reduce energy costs and atmospheric carbon as well. (More)

NOAA Dedicates New Chesapeake Bay Research Vessel

Image of the R/V Bay Hyrdo II speeding through the water. Click for larrger image.

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) christened a new state-of-the-art research vessel, R/V Bay Hydro II, which will collect oceanographic data in the Chesapeake Bay region—data critical to safe navigation and environmental protection in the nation’s largest estuary. The dedication took place in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, featuring a ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle over the bow and a cannon salute from the USS Constellation. (More)

NOAA Submits Proposed Recovery Plan to Congress to Help Create Jobs, Improve Coastal Communities and Protect Habitat

ARRA logo. Click to go to

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) submitted to Congress its proposed Recovery plan to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and restore our environment. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NOAA was provided $830 million. NOAA estimates its planned expenditures will create a significant number of new jobs and strengthen the economy, spurring the creation of additional jobs.NOAA’s investments in weather forecasting and research, fisheries, ocean and coastal management are aimed at safeguarding lives and putting Americans to work. (More)

NIST Improves Microscope's Stability for Nanomanufacturing Biology

Ian an atomic force microscope (AFM), force is measured by a laser beam, yellow in this artist's rendition. AFM photo.

Photo: G. Kuebler/JILA/CU

A research team from the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado has improved by 100 times the stability of a workhorse tool in nanotechnology, known as the atomic force microscope, potentially improving a wide range of areas from nanomanufacturing to biology, where sensitive, atom-scale measurements must be made at room temperature in liquids. (More)

NIST Studies Making Cooling Systems More Efficient and Economical

Graphic depicting conventional and magnetic refrigeration cycles. Click here for larger image.

A refrigerator’s humming, electricity-guzzling cooling system could soon be a lot smaller, quieter and more economical thanks to an exotic metal alloy discovered by an international collaboration working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). The alloy may prove to be a long-sought material that will permit magnetic cooling instead of the gas-compression systems used for home refrigeration and air conditioning. (More)

First Wintertime Observations Find Ozone Soaring Near Natural Gas Field

NOAA seal.

During the past three winters, ozone—normally linked to hot-weather and urban pollution—has soared to health-threatening levels near a remote natural gas field in northwestern Wyoming. Now, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory have solved the problem of how ozone can form in cold weather at levels threatening to human health. Their results, published Jan. 18 in the journal Nature Geosciences, are forcing researchers to rethink the mechanics of ground-level ozone production. (More)