Electricity is ubiquitous in daily life and electrical metrology covers a wide range of quantities. Typical examples are voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, inductance, power, electrical field strength, magnetic field strength, antenna factors, radiofrequency scattering parameters and others. In many cases these quantities span a very wide range of values. Calibration services for dc resistance, for example, extend over 20 orders of magnitude. Many quantities depend on frequency, which ranges from dc far into the radiofrequency range, with different techniques required for the different frequency ranges.
Reliable measurements of electrical quantities underpin measurement results in many different areas, since most modern measuring instruments use electrical signal transducers and treat electrical signals. Electrical energy provides the second largest contribution to the world's total energy consumption.
The most accurate electrical standards are the Josephson effect and the quantum Hall effect, two macroscopic quantum standards. These allow electrical units to be derived from two fundamental physical constants, the elementary charge and the Planck constant. The importance of the further development of quantum standards cannot be overstated. Quantum standards are becoming more versatile as they are used in an increasing number of applications, and the development of less complex quantum standards will lead to more widespread use in the future.
A rapidly growing area that requires metrological support is the transmission and distribution of electrical energy through Smart Grids and new ultra-high voltage transmission lines. Dynamic measurements based on digital sampling where parameters are changing rapidly in time are a potential area of increased activity. Another area in which increased activity may be needed is in the electromagnetic properties of materials.