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Measurement, Metrology

Calling upon LNE, i.e. France's National Metrology Institute, to resolve measurement-related problems is to receive guidance from an actor renowned for its expertise in both measurement and quality that has been involved in such missions since its founding in 1901. Within an increasingly restrictive economic and competitive environment, we design metrology solutions adapted to accompany your innovation and growth strategy.

Our teams of researchers, engineers and technicians are constantly showcasing their knowledge in the field of measurements, through their research accomplishments and development of new applications. Our entire array of services constitutes a consistent and comprehensive approach dedicated to products and equipment, systems and services, all of which we adapt to achieve optimal improvements in quality, safety and performance.

Overseeing French metrology

Since January 25th 2005, LNE has been responsible for coordinating and promoting French metrology and acting as its representative on the international stage. This laboratory is the official counterpart of other nation's leading metrology institutes (PTB, NPL, NIST).

LNE comprises major scientific and technical resources that make up a large share of the need for standards inherent in the International System of Units (SI). The fields covered by LNE include: electricity-magnetism, dimensional and length metrology, mass and related quantities (pressure, force, torque, acoustics, accelerometry), material quantities (chemical metrology), radiometry-photometry, and temperature and thermal quantities.

Nearly 250 metrology engineers and technicians are on LNE's staff, over half of whom are dedicated to scientific and technological research activities.

A reference body

LNE's primary missions, in its capacity as a reference body, include the following:

  • laying out and supervising the work programs adopted by national metrology laboratories and their multiyear study and research schedules;
  • dividing among the participating laboratories the set of missions they have been assigned on behalf of French metrology, in order to ensure users that the metrological references adapted to their needs are indeed available and accessible;
  • providing financial or technical assistance for practical studies and research in the field of metrology;
  • sponsoring all studies and research needed in both the fields of fundamental metrology and applied metrology;
  • ensuring France's effective representation at the General Conference on Weights and Measures, as well as its overall presence within international and European organizations in the dual fields of fundamental and applied metrology;
  • disseminating information pertaining to developments in the area of metrology;
  • organizing the correlation between any measurement and corresponding national standards, in addition to conducting all appropriate actions that ultimately lead to the requisite international recognition.

Fundamental metrology

To ensure quality, every measurement must be traceable to the International System of Units (SI) via reference standards. The various national metrology laboratories are tasked with developing, maintaining, upgrading and transferring these standards.

LNE oversees and coordinates the research work undertaken by all French metrology entities. In this role, it has assembled a network of 4 national laboratories, including itself.

- In this effort, LNE:

  • assists in maintaining and developing French standards as well as in transferring them to companies and other laboratories, via the chain o dissemination for national standards for the 6 following fields: electricity-magnetism, lengths, masses and related magnitudes (force, pressure, viscosity, acceleration, etc.), material quantities - chemical metrology, radiometry-photometry, and temperature;
  • conducts on its own over a third of the 150 research projects selected at the national level by the Metrology Committee. Sample projects include: kibble (watt) balance, nanometrology, very high temperatures, electricity and magnetism-generated power, pesticide analyses within environmental matrices;
  • attends some twenty "Key Comparison" sessions among national metrology institutes organized at: the international level by the International Office of Weights and Measures (BIPM), the European level by EURAMET (European organization for primary metrology), and the national level.

- Moreover, LNE:

  • participates actively in international working groups dedicated to improving the International System of Units (SI) through its presence on 9 BIPM consultative committees;
  • establishes, in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry, the evaluation benchmarks for regulated measurement instruments (used in commercial transactions with implications for public health and safety);
  • is a member of EURAMET, the European organization that encompasses the various European national metrology institutes.

Your challenges

Your challenges entail performing appropriate measurements in order to:

  • match the specificity of your product or process,
  • ensure the traceability of your measurements,
  • meet the requirements inherent in your quality and accreditation approaches.

Whatever your problem:

  • Innovate by remaining competitive: Companies need to innovate at the lowest cost and on the fastest timeline possible. To accompany these goals, LNE evaluates their measurement methods and uncertainties, from the R&D stage through to the production chain.
  • Master new technologies: New technologies are complex and require controls and measurements at all stages of the process: for example, additive manufacturing and the necessity of replicating such manufacturing processes, nanotechnologies, information processing techniques, smart grids.
  • Pursue development in respecting the environment: In order to meet the challenges related to climate disruption and resource scarcity, companies and public authorities are rolling out ambitious and innovative action plans: high-performance cost-saving lighting, energy-efficient buildings, mapping of energy loss sources, etc. LNE offers an effective means of support in the search for energy savings. The role of metrology is critical in the area of environmental protection: monitoring of drinking water and indoor or outdoor air quality, verification of machine quality, assistance in designing products with predetermined life cycles.
  • Protect human health: Our platforms dedicated to nanomaterial measurements, especially in food supply, and nanoparticulates present in air serve as valuable allies during risk identification steps. Metrology plays an increasingly important role in prevention efforts thanks to work conducted on the traceability of analytical results delivered by analysis laboratories, as well as on the early detection of certain diseases (Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases).

Our assets

The LNE organization is:

  • assigned to develop and maintain the set of national standards,
  • tasked with ensuring the traceability of SI measurements,
  • endowed with competences recognized by COFRAC, as evidenced by its multiple accreditations (page link).

Calibration work

As an essential complement to companies' quality approach, calibration steps enable them to ensure their products meet customers' expectations while controlling manufacturing processes and guaranteeing output quality. Benefiting from a wide range of competences, LNE is renowned as a reference player in this field.

Our calibration laboratories, located in Paris, Nîmes and Poitiers, are accredited by COFRAC and offer the most extensive set of services in addressing mechanical, thermal, optical, chemical and electrical magnitudes.

We are regularly called upon to participate in inter-laboratory comparisons at the international level (i.e. Key Comparisons organized by CIPM), as well as at the European level organized by Euramet and EA, which helps gain international recognition for our calibration certificates.

Calibration and connection of measurement instruments:

  • Acoustics,
  • Chemistry,
  • Controls performed in a hospital setting and on-site,
  • Gas flow metering,
  • Dimensional analyses,
  • Electricity,
  • Forces, torques, accelerometry,
  • Hygrometry,
  • Magnetism,
  • Masses,
  • Mass densities and volumes,
  • Pressures,
  • Photometry,
  • Pyrometry,
  • Radiometry,
  • Thermometry,
  • Viscosimetry.

Reference materials:

  • Charpy V specimens, for the verification of pendulum strikers,
  • Diffusivity and electrical conductivity materials,
  • Reference oils for calibrating viscosimeters,
  • Reference solutions for environmental and biological analyses.

Useful links