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.

Related Articles


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 December 20, 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 December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
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