National Physical Laboratory

Emma Woolliams


Emma Woolliams

Dr Emma Woolliams is leading work on the application of metrological techniques (primary radiometry and uncertainty analysis) to Earth Observation. She develops techniques to bring NMI-quality metrology out to users through alternative traceability, spectrally resolved measurements and novel transfer standards. She has a particular interest in making uncertainty analysis simultaneously rigorous and straightforward for end-users and in the application of uncertainty analysis to satellite L1 products.

Emma Woolliams participates in the RadCalNet Working Group, developing a network of radiometric calibration sites and leads workpackages of the MetEOC-2 and FIDUCEO projects. She also chairs a task group of the CCPR on the analysis of comparisons.


Emma joined NPL in 1998 with an MSci in 'Physics with a year in Germany' from Imperial College London. She obtained her PhD from Manchester University in 2003 with the thesis title: 'Development and evaluation of a high temperature blackbody source for the realisation of NPL's primary spectral irradiance scale' using research performed as part of her job at NPL. Emma started her career by setting up the spectral irradiance facility at NPL and piloting the international key comparison of spectral irradiance. Her experience was broadened through projects on high temperature measurement, the calibration of Earth Observation sensors and the verification and testing of low energy lighting.

She has gained a reputation as an expert in uncertainty analysis of radiometric data. She also led an international project to determine the temperature of new high temperature fixed point references, and presented the results at the Royal Society in a keynote presentation. She has published more than 30 peer reviewed papers and been an invited speaker at conferences.

Emma is a Principal Research Scientist in the Earth Observation, Climate and Optical Group.

Selected publications

  • Textbook on Uncertainty Analysis for Earth Observation Instrument Calibration
  • Report on Determining the uncertainty associated with integrals of spectral quantities
  • Proposed Process for Estimating Definitive Temperatures of High-Temperature Fixed Points. International Journal of Thermophysics
    Woolliams, E.R., Bloembergen, P. & Machin, G.
    2015 36, 347-366. (doi:10.1007/s10765-014-1800-4)
  • Uncertainty Analysis for Filter Radiometry Based on the Uncertainty Associated with Integrated Quantities. International Journal of Thermophysics
    Woolliams, E.R.
    2014 35, 1353-1365. (doi:10.1007/s10765-014-1722-1)
  • Spectral radiance source based on supercontinuum laser and wavelength tunable bandpass filter: the spectrally tunable absolute irradiance and radiance source. Applied Optics
    Levick, A.P., Greenwell, C.L., Ireland, J., Woolliams, E.R., Goodman, T.M., Bialek, A. & Fox, N.P.
    2014 53, 3508-3519. (doi:10.1364/ao.53.003508)
  • Effect of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) phase transition at 19 degrees C on the use of Spectralon as a reference standard for reflectance. Applied Optics
    Ball, C.P., Levick, A.P., Woolliams, E.R., Green, P.D., Dury, M.R., Winkler, R., Deadman, A.J., Fox, N.P. & King, M.D.
    2013 52, 4806-4812. (doi:10.1364/ao.52.004806)

Contact details

Tel: 020 8943 6661

Last Updated: 15 Dec 2015
Created: 8 Oct 2015


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