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Calibration and measurement services

The BIPM participates in (and pilots) a number of comparisons and, based on its associated measurement services, carries out calibrations in selected areas for NMIs of the Member States.

The range and type of calibrations offered may change from time to time. For more information about reference standards kept at the BIPM, please click on the appropriate tabs above.



Calibration certificates issued by the BIPM:

Select a year and/or a scientific department:

  

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For those Member State NMIs that do not hold primary standards for ozone in air, the BIPM offers calibrations of secondary standard ozone analysers.

Interested laboratories are invited to contact Dr J. Viallon for the relevant calibration request forms.


In order to shift some of our human resources to other essential activities, such as establishing the calculable capacitor and collaborating on the BIPM watt balance project, while at the same time continuing our support for the CCEM and our programme of comparisons and calibrations, the CCEM (2007) agreed the following guidelines for the calibration of electrical standards at the BIPM:

  • NMIs are asked to limit the frequency of their BIPM calibrations of resistors, capacitors and electronic voltage standards (Zeners) to once every two years for the same type of standard.

  • Users of the BIPM electrical calibration services should please limit the number of standards of a given type to no more than three standards of the same nominal value.

  • The calibrations will be carried out at the BIPM in two or three batches during the year.

In addition to calibrations, a bilateral comparison scheme using conventional standards is offered to those laboratories that desire well-documented traceability to the BIPM voltage, resistance, and capacitance standards. This uses methods and procedures similar to those used in the former large-scale international comparisons and the results are proposed to the CCEM for inclusion in the CIPM MRA database.

Further information on the calibrations available for electrical standards of national laboratories is provided in the "Voltage", "Resistance" and "Capacitance" pages above.


Electronic voltage standards referenced to Zener diodes are now widely used, creating the need to carry out calibrations at 10 V as well as 1.018 V. The BIPM uses 10 V arrays of Josephson junctions as the reference voltage standard and all voltages are defined with respect to KJ=2e/h, calculated from the fixed numerical values of the elementary charge e and the Planck constant h.

Calibrations at 10 V are carried out either by comparison with a Zener working standard that is calibrated with a 10 V array or by direct comparison with an array. Calibrations at 1.018 V are carried out either by comparison with a calibrated standard cell or by direct comparison with an array. The combined standard uncertainty (relative to the nominal output voltage) assigned to the calibration of a 1.018 V or 10 V Zener voltage standard is typically 1.4 parts in 108 (excluding uncertainty components associated with transportation).

Please send us your calibration request at least four months before the envisaged calibration date.



In the area of resistance calibrations, the BIPM was the first laboratory to use a cryogenic current comparator for routine resistance calibrations. This provides a significant increase in the precision of the comparisons and makes it possible to obtain, for example, precise estimates for the pressure coefficients of travelling standards received for calibration by measuring variations in resistance caused by natural changes in atmospheric pressure.

Routine calibrations are carried out at 1 ohm, 100 ohm and 10 kohm. With respect to RK = h/e2, calculated from the fixed numerical values of the Planck constant h and the elementary charge e, the combined standard uncertainty assigned to the calibration of a 1 ohm resistance standard is typically 1.7 parts in 108 relative to the nominal value; that assigned to the calibration of a 100 ohm or 10 kohm resistance standard is typically 1.8 parts in 108 (excluding uncertainty components associated with transportation).

Please send us your calibration request at least four months before the envisaged calibration date.


The resistance calibration service is moving into a new laboratory. Therefore the service is currently suspended until July 2020.



The link between 1 pF, 10 pF and 100 pF capacitance standards and the quantized Hall resistance has been established at the BIPM.

With respect to RK = h/e2, calculated from the fixed numerical values of the Planck constant h and the elementary charge e, the combined relative standard uncertainty assigned to the calibration of a 1 pF, 10 pF or 100 pF capacitance standard is typically 5 parts in 108 at 1000 Hz and 4 parts in 108 at 1592 Hz (excluding uncertainty components associated with transportation). These uncertainties have been confirmed by several international comparisons.

Please send us your calibration request at least four months before the envisaged calibration date.


Due to maintenance in the laboratories, the capacitance calibration service will be temporarily suspended from May to October 2020.



For those Member State NMIs that do not hold primary standards for x-rays or gamma radiation, the BIPM offers characterizations/calibrations of national secondary standard ionization chambers in terms of the quantities and under the reference conditions determined by the CCRI(I).

These are described in Rapport BIPM-2018/06, together with the uncertainty budgets of the relevant BIPM standards.


Please note that the BIPM provides these services only to the national laboratories (national measurement institutes or designated institutes) of its Member States, and cannot offer them to private companies.

The primary role of the BIPM's activity in Mass is to provide traceability to the kilogram.

Calibrations of Pt-Ir prototypes and mass standards in stainless steel are carried out each year during the periods March to May and September to November.

The BIPM is the pilot laboratory for the first key comparison of kg realizations, CCM.M-K8.2019. Therefore the mass calibration service will be temporarily suspended during the first half of 2020.


1 kg prototypes in Pt-Ir

    The BIPM offers a calibration service for 1 kg national prototypes in Pt-Ir. This service is available free of charge to Member States. The Physical Metrology Department maintains a number of prototypes and other standards in Pt-Ir. A subset of these are used as working standards to calibrate national prototypes upon request. The remainder are used for quality control. Since 20 May 2019 the kilogram is defined with respect to the fixed numerical value of the Planck constant. Before the completion of the first key comparison of realization experiments, the traceability will be based on the known relationship between the mass of the International Prototype of the Kilogram (IPK) and the Planck constant. The combined standard uncertainty is about 0.012 mg. This uncertainty is dominated by the standard uncertainty of 0.010 mg of the mass of the IPK with respect to the Planck constant. The standard uncertainty of the prototype under calibration with respect to the IPK is about 0.005 mg.

    The BIPM also fabricates Pt-Ir prototypes for Member States upon request.

  • Request the calibration of a national prototype

1 kg mass standards in stainless steel

    The BIPM offers a calibration service for 1 kg standards in stainless steel. This service is available free of charge to NMIs of Member States. The volume of the standard can be determined by hydrostatic weighing at the BIPM if this parameter is unknown (typical combined standard uncertainty obtained at the BIPM is 0.44 mm3 at the reference temperature of 20.0 °C). However, the volumetric thermal expansion near room temperature must be supplied by the NMI or the manufacturer of the standard. Since 20 May 2019 the kilogram is defined with respect to the fixed numerical value of the Planck constant. Before the completion of the first key comparison of realization experiments, the traceability will be based on the known relationship between the mass of the International Prototype of the Kilogram (IPK) and the Planck constant. The combined standard uncertainty is about 0.012 mg. This uncertainty is dominated by the standard uncertainty of 0.010 mg of the mass of the IPK with respect to the Planck constant. The standard uncertainty of the stainless steel standard under calibration with respect to the IPK is about 0.006 mg.

  • Request the calibration of a 1 kg standard in stainless steel

Traceability to the SI through the BIPM
Subject area:
What is traceability?
BIPM policy on stating uncertainties
Summary charts: Technical services per Member State
Chemistry
Electricity
Ionizing Radiation
Mass
Time
Related articles:
Comparisons piloted by the BIPM
BIPM work programme
Joint BIPM, OIML, ILAC and ISO declaration on metrological traceability