The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the National Metrology Institute of Germany, is a scientific and technical higher federal authority falling within the competence of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The PTB meets the requirements for calibration and testing laboratories as defined in the EN ISO/IEC 17025. A fundamental task of PTB is to realize and maintain the legal units in compliance with the International System of Units (SI) and to disseminate them, above all within the framework of legal and industrial metrology.

Major areas of technical expertise and experimental activity of Division 5 “Precision Engineering” of PTB are related to the dissemination of standards to the industry. This includes activities in research,  improvement of measurement instruments, standards, and guidelines. A main aspect is related to research on the field of dimensional nanotechnology by using scanning force microscopy and other high resolution instruments and on the field of hardness metrology using instrumented indentation. Several working groups are working on  probe-sample interactions, crystalline surfaces as standard, MEMS for small force metrology and standards for nano-analytical instruments. Within the group “Hardness and Tactile Probing Methods” is dealing for more than 15 years with research in instrumented indentation and for more than 10 years with research on the traceability of micro- and nano-force metrology.