NIST Seminar – N02 (Monday 3/10 – Tuesday 3/11 8:00AM – 5:00PM) REGISTER NOW
N02:  NIST Pressure and Vacuum Measurement – 2 days
Presenters: Jay Hendricks and Douglas Olson,

NIST, Thermodynamic Metrology Group


A making good pressure measurement from ultra-high vacuum to atmospheric pressure and higher requires the correct use of many kinds of gauges and proper use of vacuum technology.  Among the most widely used gauges are ionization gauges, spinning rotor gauges, thermal conductivity gauges, capacitance diaphragm gauges, quartz bourdon tube gauges, and resonant silicon gauges.  However, the incorrect use of any of these gauges can result in bad measurements that cost time and money.

This two-day course will cover the fundamentals of pressure measurements from 10-8 Pa to 10+8 Pa (10-10 torr to 10+6 torr), focusing on the selection and proper use of appropriate gauging technology for a given application.  A survey of calibration techniques will be presented along with recommendations for obtaining best performance.   Part of the class time will be devoted to set-up of a simple vacuum calibration system.  This will enable live demonstration of some of the gauges discussed in the course, and give students an opportunity to participate in the vacuum system set-up and disassembly.

New for this year is a section devoted to the use of piston gauges as the reference standard.  We will also bring back the popular overview of good vacuum system design and construction using off-the-shelf vacuum equipment and fittings.  Basic vacuum system design do’s and don’ts will be covered.  Pumping systems, sealing systems, valves, and vacuum plumbing solutions will be briefly covered.  For pressures substantially higher than atmosphere, proper selection and operation of piston gauges for gas and oil calibrations will be covered.  Attendees are invited to share their own pressure measurement and or vacuum system design problems for in-class discussion.

For further information, contact:

Jay Hendricks,, 301- 975-4836

Douglas Olson,, 301-975-2956


Seminar Developers Biography:

A world-class expert in low pressure and vacuum metrology, Dr. Hendricks and leads the activities of the NIST Ultrasonic Interferometer manometer primary pressure standards laboratory in the Thermodynamic Metrology Group. Jay received his M.A. and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, and his B.S. in chemistry from Penn State University. He started his career at NIST in 1996 as a post-doctoral fellow conducting research on a novel low-temperature CVD that resulted in a US patent. He has 25 years of vacuum science and technology experience and has worked on many aspects of vacuum technology & metrology.  His research interests include the development of primary low pressure and vacuum standards, the characterization of resonant silicon gauges, capacitance diaphragm gauges, piston gauges, force-balanced piston gauges, the study of the interaction of water with technical surfaces, and out gassing from vacuum materials. He is team lead of a 5-year Innovation in Measurement Science project aimed at re-inventing the realization and dissemination of pressure, temperature, and length through the use of optical Fabry-Perot interferometer cavities. He has presented invited papers at both domestic and international vacuum symposia and has authored 40 papers on vacuum science/ technology/ metrology, and ion-beam laser spectroscopy.   He enjoys committee work and is an active member of the CCM low and high pressure working groups and the AVS-Mid Atlantic Chapter executive committee.  He has 5 years of experience as a short-course seminar instructor for the Measurement Science Conference.  He chairs or serves on a variety of national and international vacuum standards meetings and symposia including the AVS vacuum technology division program committee, and the International Vacuum Congress vacuum science and technology division program committee.

Dr. Douglas A. Olson is a member of the in the Thermodynamic Metrology Group in the Sensor Science Division of NIST. He is an expert in piston gauge pressure standards and is responsible for realizing, maintaining, and disseminating the national measurement standards for pressure for the range from 360 kPa to 300 MPa.  Under his leadership NIST established gas piston gauges as primary pressure standards and substantially reduced uncertainties for the gas pressure scale.  He has experience in electronic pressure measurement, automation of calibration processes, high pressure standards, finite element methods, and heat transfer.  He is a member of the Low Pressure and High Pressure Working Groups of the Consultative Committee for Mass (CCM), the SIM Pressure Working Group, and the Deadweight Pressure Gauge Committee of the NCSLI.  He serves as a technical expert in pressure for the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP).