Design of the new METAS watt balance experiment Mark II
The kilogram is the last unit of the international system of units (SI) still based on a material artefact, the international prototype of the kilogram (IPK). The comparisons made in the last hundred years have clearly revealed a long-term relative drift between the IPK and the official copies kept under similar conditions at the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures. A promising route towards a new definition of the kilogram based on a fundamental constant is represented by the watt balance experiment which links the mass unit to the Planck constant h. For more than ten years, the Federal Institute of Metrology METAS has been actively working in the conception and development of a watt balance experiment. This paper describes the new design of the Mark II METAS watt balance. The metrological characteristics of the different components of the experiment are described and discussed.