National Physical Laboratory

Defence & Security World Metrology Day 2016


Friday 20 May: A celebration of measurement (metrology is the science of measurement) and an opportunity to reflect on its importance to our daily lives.


World Metrology Day is celebrated by over 80 countries each year on 20 May - the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention back in 1875. To this day, the agreement provides the basis for a single, coherent system of measurements that are traceable to the International System of Units (SI).

The theme for World Metrology Day 2016 is: Measurements in a dynamic world.

Find out more:

Measurements in daily life

Measurement MattersFind out how measurement plays a vital role in all our lives.

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Life with measurements

Measurement is beautiful:
A selection of images taken by NPL scientists

A mirrored 100 micron atomic force microscope (AFM)

A mirrored 100 micron atomic force microscope (AFM) topographic image of ordered sub-micron structures.

Calibration of a step gauge

Calibration of a step gauge.

A theoretical representation of the measurement of a star pattern using an optical imaging microscope

A theoretical representation of the measurement of a star pattern using an optical imaging microscope: The resolution of the microscope is 300 nm but super-resolution techniques have been used to enhance this to 230 nm.

Adhesion map of epitaxial graphene on silicon carbide

Adhesion map of epitaxial graphene on silicon carbide: The blue/green colour indicates single layer graphene, which preferentially absorbs environmental species, and the yellow colour indicates double layer graphene.

Magnetic Force Microscopy image of a novel magnetic nanosensor

Magnetic Force Microscopy image of a novel magnetic nanosensor: The magnetic configuration is dominated by two 'magnetic vortices' located in the disk-shaped structures; the L-shaped structure is a permalloy nanowire.

Scanning spin gate microscopy image of a graphene Hall cross

Scanning spin gate microscopy image of a graphene Hall cross: The image is strongly dominated by electrostatic signals located in the corners of the device.

Mapping of magnetoresistance in permalloy nanodevices

Mapping of magnetoresistance in permalloy nanodevices: Only two resistive states are possible: the red colour corresponds to the state without a domain wall (high resistance), and blue colour - to the state with a domain wall (low resistance).

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