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Home > News > New thermometer could help redefine temperature

December 2nd, 2008

New thermometer could help redefine temperature

Abstract:
Physicists in Finland and Japan have invented a new type of electronic thermometer that relates temperature directly to the Boltzmann constant. Although not the first device to do so, the team say that their thermometer could easily be mass produced and therefore could be used as a highly-accurate laboratory instrument as well as a calibration standard.

The current definition of the unit of absolute temperature is very messy indeed — the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) in Paris defines the Kelvin as 1/273.16 of the temperature difference between absolute zero and the triple point of pure water (roughly 0°C) at a certain pressure. However, the CIPM would prefer to define the Kelvin, along with other SI units, in terms of fundamental constants — the Boltzmann constant kB, in the case of temperature.

As a result, teams of physicists around the world are dreaming up new techniques that relate temperature directly to kB. The latest is "single-junction thermometry" (SJT), which has been unveiled by Jukka Pekola and colleagues at the Helsinki University of Technology and NEC's Nano Electronics Research Laboratories in Tsukuba (Phys Rev Lett 101 206801 ).

Source:
physicsworld.com

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