Metrology requires important international collaborations by its nature: it needs redundancy to ensure reliable and sustainable traceability of measurements. In addition to scientific exchanges, metrology involves participating in numerous inter-laboratory comparisons in order to validate the results obtained on the references that have been made. All RNMF researchers are strongly involved in international decision-making bodies, whether at European or international level. In addition, "researcher exchange" programmes are proposed to increase collaboration with our counterparts.
The RNMF and the Metre Convention
Due to its history, France has a rightful seat on the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM, composed of only 18 people).
The RNMF is present in all CIPM Consultative Committees, and in many associated working groups (over 50).
A few facts and figures:
This is the number of RNMF participations in international key comparisons.
This is the number of RNMF participations in supplementary comparisons.
This is the number of internationally recognized calibration and measurement capabilities (CMCs) published within the CIPM MRA.
All these elements allow France to position itself as the 6th largest metrology player in the world.
In addition, the results of substantial research in recent years have enabled France to be a major player in the revision of the international system of units.
JCGM (Joint Committe for Guides in Metrology)
The JCGM, a joint committee between the BIPM and many other international organizations, such as OIML, ISO, IEC, IFCC, IUPAC or IUPAP, has the role of updating and disseminating two major metrology documents, the GUM (Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement) and the VIM (International Vocabulary of Metrology), in two working groups, JCGM-WG1 and JCGM-WG2 respectively. LNE participates in both of these working groups.
In the field of ionizing radiation, in dosimetry for radiotherapy, the need for connections requires particularly expensive instrumentation, such as medical accelerators. The French government implemented a new platform dedicated to radiotherapy in 2014, the DOSEO platform. In addition to the research initiated, it also enables the training of hospital and industrial physicists.
Under an agreement with the BIPM, this platform is made available to the international community for primary standard calibrations and inter-laboratory comparisons.
The RNMF and metrology in Europe: EURAMET
Within the EURAMET association, the RNMF is present at all levels.
It was one of the initiators of the creation of the EUROMET association in 1988, with the PTB (Germany) and the NPL (United Kingdom), then of its transformation into a legal entity in 2007, to become EURAMET.
All laboratories, according to their competence, participate in technical committees, thematic groups (environment, energy, health) and inter-laboratory comparisons organized within this framework, among others. In addition, the LNE, as representative of the RNMF, participates in the EMPIR Committee's Board of Directors and Research Sub-Committee.
On behalf of EURAMET, LNE also chairs the joint committee STAndards, Innovation and Research - European Mettrology Programme for Innovation and research (STAIR-EMPIR), a platform for exchange between CEN-CENELEC (standardisation) and EURAMET (metrology), to define R&D needs with an impact on standardisation.
European research programmes
Since the beginning of the adventure of European programs, France has been very present and has participated in :
of the 21 projects funded under i-MERA+
of the 119 projects funded under EMRP
EMPIR projects to date (ongoing until 2020)
European Metrology Network (EMN)
To improve collaboration in metrology in Europe, define real strategies and increase coordination in metrology R&D, EURAMET has initiated the creation of European Metrology Networks (EMN) on topics of strategic importance for Europe. This initiative, supported by the European Commission (EC), led to the emergence of the first EMNs, approved by the EURAMET General Assembly in 2018.
- Quantum Technologies
- Energy Gases
- Climate, Earth and Ocean observation
- Smart electrical grids
- Laboratory in medicine
- Mathematics and statistics
The RNMF laboratories are involved in all these EMNs, especially by co-piloting two of them: the one on Climate (for the Ocean Monitoring part), and the one on Mathematics and Statistics.
Each year, all RNMF laboratories welcome researchers from all over the world, whose objectives are of many kinds:
- host foreign researchers and engineers who have specific skills necessary for the experiments developed within the framework of the national metrology programme, and support the teams
- develop specific instruments of common interest (reception and/or missions).
A specific budget is dedicated to this activity which represents around 20 persons/month.
Within the framework of international activities, cooperation agreements are signed with certain countries for specific activities. The latest agreements signed have more specifically concerned the field of temperature and thermal quantities.
The Torricelli institute is a joint laboratory between INRiM (Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica - Italy) and LNE (Laboratoire national de métrologie et d'essais - France), created in 2016. It is intended to promote research in primary metrology through the development of new methods and the production of instrumentation in the fields of fluids, particularly for pressure, temperature and humidity, the thermo-physical properties of materials and gas composition.
Joint Laboratory for Cryogenic Metrology Science and Technology
In May 2018, an agreement was signed in Paris between the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (TIPC-CAS) and LNE for the creation of the Joint Laboratory for Cryogenic Metrology Science and Technology.
This agreement, signed in the presence of Dr Bin Xiangli, Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Mr Thomas Grenon, Director General of LNE, aims to strengthen scientific cooperation between TIPC and LNE in the field of temperature. Initiated several years ago, it has already enabled remarkable results to be obtained for the Boltzmann constant measurement as well as in the thermometry research field.