Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method for measuring the temperature of nanoscale objects discovered

05.05.2014

Temperature measurements in our daily life are typically performed by bringing a thermometer in contact with the object to be measured. However, measuring the temperature of nanoscale objects is a much more tricky task due to their size - up to a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Pioneering research, published in Nature Nanotechnology, has now developed a method to accurately measure the surface temperature of nanoscale objects when they have a different temperature than their environment. A team led by Dr Janet Anders at the University of Exeter and Professor Peter Barker at University College London have discovered that the surface temperatures of nanoscale objects can be determined from analysing their jittery movement in air - known as Brownian motion.

"This motion is caused by the collisions with the air molecules" said Dr Anders, a quantum information theorist and member of the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Exeter. "We found that the impact of such collisions carries information about the object's surface temperature, and have used our observation of its Brownian motion to identify this information and infer the temperature."

The scientists conducted their research by trapping a glass nanosphere in a laser beam and suspending it in air. The sphere was then heated and it was possible to observe rising temperatures on the nanoscale until the glass got so hot that it melted. This technique could even discern different temperatures across the surface of the tiny sphere.

"When working with objects on the nanoscale, collisions with air molecules make a big difference", says Dr. James Millen from the team at University College London. "By measuring how energy is transferred between nanoparticles and the air around them we learn a lot about both".

Accurate knowledge of temperature is needed in many nanotechnological devices because their operation strongly depends on temperature. The discovery also informs current research which is working towards bringing large objects into a quantum superposition state. It further impacts on the study of aerosols in the atmosphere and opens the door for the study of processes that are out of equilibrium in a controlled setting.

Brownian motion is named after the Scottish botanist Robert Brown who, in 1827, noted that pollen move through water even when the water is perfectly still. Albert Einstein published a paper in 1905 that explained in precise detail how this movement was a result of the pollen being pushed by individual water molecules, eventually leading to the acceptance of the atomistic nature of all matter in science.

This research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC).

For further information please contact:

Duncan Sandes
University of Exeter Press Office
+44 (0)1392 722405 or 722062
d.sandes@exeter.ac.uk
Twitter: @UoE_ScienceNews

About the University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university and in the top one percent of institutions globally. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 18,000 students and is ranked 8th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide league table, 10th in The Complete University Guide and 12th in the Guardian University Guide 2014. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 90% of the University's research was rated as being at internationally recognised levels and 16 of its 31 subjects are ranked in the top 10, with 27 subjects ranked in the top 20. Exeter was The Sunday Times University of the Year 2012-13.

The University has invested strategically to deliver more than £350 million worth of new facilities across its campuses in the last few years; including landmark new student services centres - the Forum in Exeter and The Exchange on the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, together with world-class new facilities for Biosciences, the Business School and the Environment and Sustainability Institute. There are plans for another £330 million of investment between now and 2016.

http://www.exeter.ac.uk

For further information:

University of Exeter
Press Office
+44 (0)1392 722405 or 722062
pressoffice@exeter.ac.uk

Duncan Sandes | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.exeter.ac.uk

Further reports about: Guide collisions glass levels movement nanoscale objects temperature temperatures

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Tiniest Particles Shrink Before Exploding When Hit With SLAC's X-ray Laser
05.02.2016 | Tohoku University

nachricht Scientists create new state of matter: Quantum gas, liquid and crystal all-in-one
02.02.2016 | Universität Stuttgart

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Automated driving: Steering without limits

OmniSteer project to increase automobiles’ urban maneuverability begins with a € 3.4 million budget

Automobiles increase the mobility of their users. However, their maneuverability is pushed to the limit by cramped inner city conditions. Those who need to...

Im Focus: Microscopy: Nine at one blow

Advance in biomedical imaging: The University of Würzburg's Biocenter has enhanced fluorescence microscopy to label and visualise up to nine different cell structures simultaneously.

Fluorescence microscopy allows researchers to visualise biomolecules in cells. They label the molecules using fluorescent probes, excite them with light and...

Im Focus: NASA's ICESat-2 equipped with unique 3-D manufactured part

NASA's follow-on to the successful ICESat mission will employ a never-before-flown technique for determining the topography of ice sheets and the thickness of sea ice, but that won't be the only first for this mission.

Slated for launch in 2018, NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) also will carry a 3-D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK),...

Im Focus: Sinking islands: Does the rise of sea level endanger the Takuu Atoll in the Pacific?

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister picture is being painted evoking the demise of the island states and their cultures. Are the effects of sea-level rise already noticeable on reef islands? Scientists from the ZMT have now answered this question for the Takuu Atoll, a group of Pacific islands, located northeast of Papua New Guinea.

In the last decades, sea level has been rising continuously – about 3.3 mm per year. For reef islands such as the Maldives or the Marshall Islands a sinister...

Im Focus: Energy-saving minicomputers for the ‘Internet of Things’

The ‘Internet of Things’ is growing rapidly. Mobile phones, washing machines and the milk bottle in the fridge: the idea is that minicomputers connected to these will be able to process information, receive and send data. This requires electrical power. Transistors that are capable of switching information with a single electron use far less power than field effect transistors that are commonly used in computers. However, these innovative electronic switches do not yet work at room temperature. Scientists working on the new EU research project ‘Ions4Set’ intend to change this. The program will be launched on February 1. It is coordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).

“Billions of tiny computers will in future communicate with each other via the Internet or locally. Yet power consumption currently remains a great obstacle”,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

DATE 2016 Highlighting Automotive and Secure Systems

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new potential biomarker for cancer imaging

05.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Graphene is strong, but is it tough?

05.02.2016 | Materials Sciences

Tiniest Particles Shrink Before Exploding When Hit With SLAC's X-ray Laser

05.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>