Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Super cool atom thermometer: New, reliable ways of measuring extreme low temperatures

Date:
December 8, 2009
Source:
American Physical Society
Summary:
Physicists have devised a thermometer that can potentially measure temperatures as low as tens of trillionths of a degree above absolute zero.

Physicists have developed a new thermometry method suitable for measuring temperatures of ultracold atoms.
Credit: Illustration: Alan Stonebraker

As physicists strive to cool atoms down to ever more frigid temperatures, they face the daunting task of developing new, reliable ways of measuring these extreme lows. Now a team of physicists has devised a thermometer that can potentially measure temperatures as low as tens of trillionths of a degree above absolute zero.

Their experiment is reported in the current issue of Physical Review Letters and highlighted with a Viewpoint in the December 7 issue of Physics.

Physicists can currently cool atoms to a few billionths of a degree, but even this is too hot for certain applications. For example, Richard Feynman dreamed of using ultracold atoms to simulate the complex quantum mechanical behavior of electrons in certain materials. This would require the atoms to be lowered to temperatures at least a hundred times colder than what has ever been achieved. Unfortunately, thermometers that can measure temperatures of a few billionths of a degree rely on physics that doesn't apply at these extremely low temperatures.

Now a team at the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultra-Cold Atoms has developed a thermometer that can work in this unprecedentedly cold regime. The trick is to place the system in a magnetic field, and then measure the atoms' average magnetization. By determining a handful of easily-measured properties, the physicists extracted the temperature of the system from the magnetization.

While they demonstrated the method on atoms cooled to one billionth of a degree, they also showed that it should work for atoms hundreds of times cooler, meaning the thermometer will be an invaluable tool for physicists pushing the cold frontier.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. A.M. Rey. The super cool atom thermometer. Physics, 2009; 2 (103) DOI: 10.1103/Physics.2.103
  2. David M. Weld, Patrick Medley, Hirokazu Miyake, David Hucul, David E. Pritchard, and Wolfgang Ketterle. Spin Gradient Thermometry for Ultracold Atoms in Optical Lattices. Physical Review Letters, 2009; 103 (245301) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.103.245301

Cite This Page:

American Physical Society. "Super cool atom thermometer: New, reliable ways of measuring extreme low temperatures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091207173626.htm>.
American Physical Society. (2009, December 8). Super cool atom thermometer: New, reliable ways of measuring extreme low temperatures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091207173626.htm
American Physical Society. "Super cool atom thermometer: New, reliable ways of measuring extreme low temperatures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091207173626.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

The Hyped-Up Big Bang Discovery Has A Dust Problem

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) An analysis of new satellite data casts serious doubt on a previous study about the Big Bang that was once hailed as revolutionary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins