Our People

Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton

Distinguished Scientist

Mass and Pressure

Areas of expertise

• Mass and length, and related quantities, such as pressure, density, volume, flow, force, torque and acceleration.
• Pressure balances
• Liquid flow measurement
• Non-linearity in laser interferometry
• Measurement automation


PhD, Solid State Physics, 1975


Chris has been active in national, regional and global metrology for over 40 years, including a year’s study leave at the National Physical Laboratory, UK and eight months at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA.

Chris was involved in setting up the Asia-Pacific Metrology Programme (APMP) in 1977 and in attempting to set up the Caribbean equivalent in 1979. He helped introduce Technical Committees to the APMP in 1998 and was inaugural chair of TCM (the Technical Committee for Mass and Related Quantities). In 1992, with the formation of Crown Research Institutes, Chris and colleagues negotiated the formation of MSL as New Zealand’s national metrology institute (NMI). As Director of MSL, he was involved in negotiating and signing the CIPM MRA in 1999.

Scientific highlights for Chris include work on: twin pressure balances, non-linearities in heterodyne laser interferometry, automation of mass comparisons, sub-nanometre vibration measurement via dynamic length measurements, comparison methodologies and their application to mass comparisons and correlated measurements, and most recently, linking the kilogram to the Planck constant using a Kibble balance.

Chris has been technical expert or peer reviewer for many IANZ accredited laboratories in New Zealand and NMIs, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

Professional activities

  • Fellow, Metrology Society of Australasia
  • Member, Royal Society of New Zealand, Wellington Branch
  • Chair, WGD-kg (CCM Working Group on the dissemination of the kilogram)
  • Member, CCM (Consultative Committee for Mass and Related Quantities)
  • Member, WGR-kg (CCM Working Group on the realization of the kilogram)
  • Member of the CCM Working Group on Strategy
  • Member of the Support Group for the extraordinary calibration using the IPK
  • Member of three-person Pilot Group for CCM pilot study on the realisation of the (awaited) kilogram
  • Member of the APMP TCM (Technical Committee for Mass and related Quantities)
  • Member of the APMP TCM MRA Review Working Group
  • Member, MCPAC (IANZ Metrology and Calibration Professional Advisory Committee)


• Sutton, C.M.*; Clarkson, M.T.*; Kissling, W.M.. 2016. The feasibility of a watt balance based on twin pressure balances. CPEM 2016 - Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements, Conference Digest. Article no.7540683.
• Sutton, C.M.*; Clarkson, M.T.*. 2014. A magnet system for the MSL watt balance. Metrologia. Vol.51, no.2, p.S101-S106.
• Clarkson, M.T.*; Sutton, C.M.*; Mason, R.S.*. 2014. An apparatus for accurate measurement of the temperature dependence of permanent magnetization. Measurement science & technology. Vo,.25, no.8, article no.085902 (6 p.).
• Robinson, J.E.*; Sutton, C.M.*; Reid, G.F.*. 2014. Dilute Triton X-100 in water as a reference liquid for hydrometer calibration using Cuckow's method. Measurement: Journal of the International Measurement Confederation. Vol.57, p.132-137.
• Sutton, C.M.*; Fitzgerald, M.P.*; Carnegie, K. 2012. Improving the performance of the force comparator in a watt balance based on pressure balances. CPEM Digest (Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements). Article no.6251006, p.468-469.
• Sutton, C.M.*; Fitzgerald, M.P.*; Jack, D.G.*. 2012. An initial investigation of the damped resonant behaviour of gas-operated pressure balances. Measurement. Vol.45, no.10, p.2476-2478.
• Fitzgerald, M.P.*; Sutton, C.M.*; Jack, D.G.*. 2011. New MSL twin pressure balance facility. PTB - Mitteilungen Forschen und Prufen. Vol.121 no.3 p.263-265.
• Christian, L.A.*; Stewart, T.J.; Sutton, C.M.*. 2010. Investigation of ac voltage measurement requirements for an oscillatory dynamic mode version of the watt balance. CPEM 2010 : Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements, Daejeon, Korea, 13-18 June, 2010; CPEM Digest (Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements). Paper submitted (2 p.); p.151-152, Article number 5544781.
• Sutton, C.M.*; Fitzgerald, M.P.*; Jack, D.G.*. 2010. The concept of a pressure balance based watt balance. CPEM Digest (Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements). p.131-132.
• Kobata, T.; Kajikawa, H.; Kimura, A.; Fitzgerald, M.P.*; Jack, D.G.; Sutton, C.M. 2009. Final report on key comparison APMP.M.P-K7.1 in hydraulic gauge pressure from 10 MPa to 100 MPa. Metrologia. Vol.46, p.07008 (69 p.).