Sandia National Laboratories
Primary Standards Lab
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Primary Standards Laboratory


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The Primary Standards Laboratory (PSL) develops and maintains primary standards traceable to national standards and calibrates and certifies customer reference standards. The PSL provides technical guidance, support, and consultation; develops precision measurement techniques; provides oversight, including technical surveys and measurement audits; and anticipates future measurement needs of the nuclear weapons complex and other Department of Energy programs.

The PSL also helps industry, universities, and government agencies establish or verify new capabilities and products and improve measurement technology.


NVLAP Accreditation

    NVLAP Accreditation

The Primary Standards Laboratory is accredited over a broad range of parameters by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) as a calibration laboratory (Lab Code 105002). This accreditation validates the high level of technical competence achieved by the laboratory and its staff.

The accreditation is based on national and international standards and the assessment covers a complete evaluation of the overall quality program of the PSL, as well as a detailed evaluation of the calibration procedures and measurement uncertainties of each calibration parameter. The accreditation represents a significant achievement for the staff of the PSL, which is recognized as one of the premier metrology laboratories in the U.S.



    Angular, ring/plug gages, length and diameter, step gages, line standards, thread measuring wires, optical reference planes, roundness, surface texture, two-dimensional gages

    Electromagnetic-DC/Low Frequency
    Voltage current converters, capacitance dividers, current transformers, DC resistance, DC voltage, high-frequency voltage, inductive dividers, LF AC voltage, LF capacitance, LF inductance, LF power/ energy, mixed dividers, capacitors, resistance dividers, voltage transformers, DC high voltage, DC current shunts

    Electromagnetic-RF/ Microwave
    Coaxial airline standards, coaxial waveguide terminations, dielectric materials, microwave couplers/splitters, thermistor mount efficiency and/or calibration factor, noise temperature, pulse/CW power, RF/microwave attenuators, RF/microwave phase shifters

    Ionizing Radiation
    Dosimetry of X-rays, gamma rays, high-dose dosimetry, neutron sources and dosimeters, radioactive sources

    Flow rate, force, mass, vibration, shock

    Optical Radiation
    Laser power/energy, photometric, radiometric, spectrophotometric, UV radiometric

    Humidity laboratory, thermometers, gas leak artifacts, pressure, radiation, thermometry, resistance thermometry, thermocouples, pyrometers, vacuum and low-pressure gages, and vacuum and low-pressure transducers

    Time and Frequency
    Frequency dissemination, time dissemination, oscillator


Major Resources

  • Professional staff at Ph.D. level
  • State-of-the-art environmentally controlled laboratories
  • Unique standards in pulsed neutrons, gas leaks, pulsed high voltage, microwaves
  • Josephson volt standard
  • M48 Universal Coordinate Measuring Machine
  • A computing facility with a Local Area Network of about 100 PCs and DEC Alpha 2100 network server. The network server has 5 gigabytes of mass storage for system use, 33 gigabytes of mass storage available for users, a 20 gigabyte tape drive, and 13 CD-ROM drives. The network server is presently using Windows NT version 4.0.  

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