A cura di MIUR - Direzione Generale per il coordinamento la promozione e la valorizzazione della ricerca

Measuring means knowing


INRIM is a national metrology  institute: on Italy’s behalf  it realizes the primary measurement standards for all measurement units of the International), except for the ionising radiation field. The INRIM’s tasks are:

  • to carry out and promote scientific research focused on metrology (the science of measurement) and materials science;
  • to perform the role of a national metrology  institute;
  • to highlight, disseminate and transfer scientific results achieved in the science of measurement and in the research on materials.


INRIM develops and maintains the reference standards for the measurement units of the International System (SI) in order to ensure Italy traceability of measurements to the SI units. With the aim of providing measurement standards more and more stable and accurate, the Institute participates in the international studies on the redefinition of the SI units, based on fixed numerical values of the fundamental physical constants. In this area INRIM set other relevant goals:

  • the realisation of the candela - the unit of luminous intensity - by photon counting;
  • the construction of an atomic clock based on an optical transition of the ytterbium atom guaranteeing higher accuracy than caesium, the atom defining the second nowadays;
  • the determination of Avogadro and Boltzmann constants, in order to redefine the kilogram and the kelvin, respectively mass and temperature unit.

Copy no. 62 of the original international prototype kilogram, kept in Turin at INRIMCopy no. 62 of the original international prototype kilogram, kept in Turin at INRIMThe Institute operates within the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM), the diplomatic organism of Nations which signed the Metre Convention on 1875. The CGPM summons the delegates of the Convention Member States to deliberate on the SI.

In order to promote a greater integration with the other European Union  Measurement Institutes, INRIM is member of the European Association of National Metrology Institutes (EURAMET) which manages the cooperation programme European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP).

INRIM’s membership in the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) is fundamental for the Italian productive system. Born out of the necessity to foster the globalisation of industrial production and commerce, this agreement among National Measurement Institutes (NMI) establishes criteria for the mutual acceptance of the respective certificates of calibration, measurement and testing.

INRIM participates in the European Galileo project which aims at creating a civil navigation satellite system. The Institute offers its metrological expertise in the time and frequency domain to the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the European Space Agency (ESA). In the nanotechnology area, INRIM can claim the setting up of a nano-manufacturing and electronic microscopy laboratory which is opening new developments for research into the science of materials, electronics, sensoristics, spintronics and quantum technologies. The Institute is at work in the field of quantum physics, by studying its potential contribution to metrology as for accuracy not attainable with classical measurement systems, and by investigating its various applications, as quantum cryptography, quantum computation and quantum imaging. The growing need for reliable and comparable measurements has led to strong growth in metrology in the chemistry and bioscience areas: in the INRIM laboratories measurement procedures have been developed in order to measure atmospheric pollutants, analyses have been carried out on environmental, food and biological matrices, and reference standards have been set for weather monitoring. The cellular biology laboratory has begun its activities as a primary bioscience laboratory by participating in international studies on human cells. At INRIM acoustic metrology finds its applications:Characterization of a biconical antenna in the INRIM anechoic chamberCharacterization of a biconical antenna in the INRIM anechoic chamber

  • in the building industry, through studies on sound-absorbing materials,
  • in the medicine, through the fine-tuning of diagnostic and therapeutic systems based on ultrasounds,
  • in environmental analysis, through investigations on the properties of sound waves.

INRIM is an integral part of the national cultural and economic fabric: it circulates the results of its scientific research to society and to industry, contributes to the training of young researchers, and cooperates with public and private companies.

EMG - Divisione Elettromagnetismo
MCH - Divisione Meccanica
OPT - Divisione Ottica
THD - Divisione Termodinamica
AT - Laboratorio delle Alte Tensioni
AN - Laboratorio di Attivazione neutronica
FD - Laboratorio di Fluidodinamica
Publication date 02/25/2013