Latest in Gear

Image credit: University of Basel

World's coolest chip runs at near absolute zero

It should help test physics at the very limit.
808 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

University of Basel

How do you find out what happens to physics near absolute zero (aka 0 kelvin), the temperature where particle motion virtually stops? Scientists at the University of Basel might have just the device to do it. They've developed a nanoelectronics chip that they can successfully cool to a record-setting, bitterly cold 2.8 millikelvin. The trick involved a clever use of magnetic fields to eliminate virtually all sources of heat.

The team started by using magnetic cooling (where you ramp down an applied magnetic field) to lower all the chip's electrical connections down to 150 microkelvin. After that, they integrated another, specially constructed magnetic field system that let the researchers cool a Couloumb blockade thermometer -- yes, even a thermometer's heat is problematic when you're edging close to absolute zero. It was successful enough that the chip could stay cold for 7 hours, which is plenty of time for tests.

This is about more than bragging rights, of course. A chip that can run in such frigid conditions could help understand physics at its very limit. You might see strange behavior, for instance. It could also be helpful in creating ideal conditions for quantum physics experiments. And there's still some room for improvement, to boot. The scientists are "optimistic" they can refine their method to lower the overall temperature to an even chillier 1 millikelvin.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
808 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

US investigates escort and massage sites over human trafficking

US investigates escort and massage sites over human trafficking

View
Nissan envisions car-themed esports gaming chairs

Nissan envisions car-themed esports gaming chairs

View
AI can gauge the risk of dying from heart conditions

AI can gauge the risk of dying from heart conditions

View
OnePlus 7T Pro may debut on October 10th

OnePlus 7T Pro may debut on October 10th

View
'Minecraft' now has 112 million players per month

'Minecraft' now has 112 million players per month

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr