According to the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM), or International Bureau of Weights and Measures, metrology is “the science of measurement, embracing both experimental and theoretical determinations at any level of uncertainty in any field of science and technology.” It is particularly important in modern assembly-line manufacturing, such as the automobile industry, high-tech manufacturing, and the very-large-scale integrated circuit (IC) industry.
Metrology is a broad field, and it can be classified based on the method used (or the nature of the parameters being measured) or on its applications. The science of physical measurement is called physical metrology; likewise, the science of chemical measurement is called chemical metrology. The former measures physical parameters such as time, length, mass, velocity, electrical charge, electrical current, etc. The latter measures the qualitative and quantitative analysis of substances used in chemical, medical, biological, and environmental fields. Forensic analysis, environmental analysis, medical analysis, and analysis of food and agricultural products involve chemical metrology. Both physical and chemical metrology are sometimes needed in a specific set of analysis. For example, to review defects in IC manufacturing, both the physical size and composition of a defect are analyzed to pinpoint the root cause.
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