Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel ‘Noise Thermometry’ May Help Redefine International Unit of Temperature

05.06.2008
After seven years of work, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a system that relies on the “noise” of jiggling electrons as a basis for measuring temperatures with extreme precision.

The system is nearly precise enough now to help update some of the crucial underpinnings of science, including the 54-year-old definition of the Kelvin, the international unit of temperature.

NIST’s Johnson noise thermometry (JNT) system, to be described Monday, June 9, at the Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements,* represents a five-fold advance in the state of the art in noise thermometry thanks to its use of a unique quantum voltage source combined with recent reductions in systematic errors and uncertainty. It is also simpler and more compact than other leading systems for measuring high temperatures, such as those based on the pressure and volume of gases.

“What’s beautiful about our JNT system is that it’s so conceptually simple,” says project leader Sam Benz. “All the measurements are electrical—they don’t require large volumes of gas and mechanical systems that change in different environmental conditions.”

As a thermometer, the JNT system will be most useful in the range from approximately 500 K (227 degrees C or 440 degrees F) to 1235 K (962 degrees C or 1763 degrees F). Its most obvious application is as a primary measurement standard (maintained at NIST and other national metrology labs for calibration of thermometers), but it also might be used directly in some industrial thermometry labs.

The recent JNT improvements are especially significant because they may contribute to a separate important measurement problem, the determination of Boltzmann’s constant. Several years from now, the international metrology community is expected to fix the value of the Boltzmann constant, used in scientific calculations to relate energy to temperature in particles. The Boltzmann constant, in turn, would then be used to redefine the Kelvin as part of an international effort to link all units to fundamental constants, a more stable and reproducible approach than traditional measurement standards based on physical objects or substances. The current Kelvin is defined in terms of the triple-point temperature of water (273.16 K, or about 0 degrees C and 32 degrees F), or the temperature and pressure at which water’s solid, liquid and vapor forms coexist in balance.

The JNT system is the only electrical approach to determining the Boltzmann constant, and is currently among the top three thermometry systems competing for the redefinition, in terms of offering the lowest uncertainties, Benz says.

The NIST system measures very small electrical noise in resistors, a common electronic component, when they are cooled to the water triple point. This "Johnson noise" is caused by the random motion of electrons and is directly proportional to temperature. The unique aspect of the system is the use of precision waveforms—electrical signals—synthesized with a superconducting alternating current (AC) voltage source whose output is based on fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, to calibrate the electronic devices measuring the noise power. This enables the system to match electrical power and thermal-noise power at the triple point of water. NIST was able to include this capability in the JNT system thanks to its recent development of the first precision instrument for synthesizing fundamentally accurate AC voltages. The quantum nature of the design assures that copies of the system will produce identical results in different laboratories, a feature that is impossible with artifact-based standards.

The most accurate measurement of the Boltzmann constant to date was performed at NIST about two decades ago using acoustic gas thermometry. The JNT system would require further improvements to be competitive with the acoustic method, but Benz thinks this is possible. A downside to the JNT system is its slow speed: It will take about one month to integrate the data to achieve the precision needed to define the Boltzmann constant, Benz says.

* S.P. Benz, H. Rogalla, D.R. White, Jifeng Qu, P.D. Dresselhaus, W.L. Tew and S.W. Nam. 2008. Improvements in the NIST Johnson Noise Thermometry System. To be presented at the Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements, Broomfield, Colo., June 9.

Note for reporters: This paper is scheduled to be presented Monday, June 9, 2008, at 2:30 PM MT at session MA-2 in Ballroom A at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colo.

Laura Ost | newswise
Further information:
http://www.icpem.org/2008/
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Failures in power grids: Dynamically induced cascades
25.05.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Beyond the limits of conventional electronics: stable organic molecular nanowires
24.05.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>