National Physical Laboratory

Dimensional / Mass and Force People People

The Mass and Dimensional team at NPL consists of around 30 full-time scientists who specialise in the measurement of length, mass, force and pressure.

The team is focused on providing some of the world's most accurate measurements: dimensions ranging from tens of metres down to picometre resolution, all traceable to the realisation of the metre; and maintenance of the UK's mass scale and dissemination through derived units such as force, pressure and density standards to a wide range of users, from heavy industry to leading edge pharmaceuticals.

We also build bespoke high accuracy metrology instrumentation to customers' requirements and provide a range of individual consultations and training tailored to customers' needs, utilising our unique position as the UK's national measurement institute. We work with a wide variety of industrial partners, academic institutes, UKAS accredited laboratories and national measurement institutes from around the world. Over the years the team has produced a number of world firsts and continues to be at the forefront of measurement science.

Key members of staff:

Ian Robinson

An NPL fellow, Ian joined NPL in 1976. Much of his experience is in the electrical metrology area where he worked on DC and low-frequency measurements of resistance and voltage. Ian, along with the late Bryan Kibble, is a world-leading pioneer of the Watt balance experiment. The balance is currently at the Canadian Measurement Institute (NRC) and is shaping up to successfully redefine the kilogram in terms of Planck's constant, thus removing the final remaining physical artefact in the SI system.

Stuart Davidson

Stuart joined NPL in 1987; he is the Head of Mass metrology and responsible for maintaining the UK Mass scale. Among Stuart's achievements is the pioneering use of UV cleaning techniques which will be adopted as the world's standard methodology for cleaning mass artefacts. His current research is principally concerned with maintaining the stability of the mass scale and ensuring that any redefinition of the kilogram will have the optimum traceability and usability for end users.

Bruce Duncan

Bruce joined NPL in 1993. After spending many years in the Materials division specialising in polymers and adhesives, he moved to the Engineering Measurement division to take responsibility for all of its measurement services, UKAS accreditation and improvement programmes.

David Flack

David joined NPL in 1980 and has worked across most areas of dimensional metrology in that time. He now specialises in coordinate metrology and recently authored NPL's good practice guides and training courses on dimensional metrology. There have been over 15,000 copies of David's good practice guides circulated to industry and over 3,000 people have undergone the dimensional training framework which was principally authored by David.

Ben Hughes

Ben joined NPL in 1988 and has since worked on a number of new developments in dimensional metrology. He has a particular interest in large scale metrology and also leads a small team developing a range of instruments for measuring thrust and vibration induced force at the micronewton level for applications relating to spacecraft component testing. Ben is a leading developer of intellectual property at NPL and holds six patents in the field of large volume metrology.

Andy Knott

Andy is the Head of Force metrology. He joined NPL in 1987 and is responsible for all of NPL's force facilities. During his time at NPL he has developed, commissioned, and automated a wide range of traceable force standard machines, both within NPL and for external customers, and he has also piloted international comparisons for both force and mass standards. Andy has been involved in the commissioning and operation of national torque and hardness standard machines, and the development of associated equipment and procedures. He also leads the NPL work on dynamic mechanical metrology.

Andrew Lewis

Andrew joined NPL in 1988 and has devoted his career to dimensional metrology, including interferometry for length standards measurement, development of a micro-CMM, swing arm profilometry, technology licensing to UK companies, and recent work in large volume metrology with laser trackers. He is NPL's dimensional representative on the CIPM's Consultative Committee for Length, representative to (and ex-chair of) the EURAMET committee for length, and sits on several standards committees. Additionally he is the Science Leader for dimensional metrology and is responsible for strategy and quality of NPL's dimensional metrology work.

Andy Robinson

Andy joined NPL in 2002. After several years specialising in torque metrology, which culminated in the world's most accurate torque generating instrument, he moved to dimensional metrology in 2007 and now leads much of NPL's commercial work on Laser scanner metrology.

Andrew Yacoot

Andrew leads our nanometrology work. He joined NPL in 1990 and is a world leading authority on traceable Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and X-ray interferometry. The combined X-ray and optical interferometer has achieved resolutions of sub 25 picometres, the highest resolution traceable dimensional measurement yet recorded. Andrew is also an editor of the leading Institute of Physics Journal, Measurement Science and Technology.

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