UAB Physics have discovered the key for designing a quantum thermometer with enough precision to detect minute differences in temperature in areas which are as tiny as the innards of a cell. The research appears today in the journal Physical Review Letters.
Researchers from the UAB and the University of Nottingham, in an article published today in Physical Review Letters, have fixed the limits of thermometry, i.e., they have established the smallest possible fluctuation in temperature which can be measured. The sensitivity level of these thermometers, created by using just a handful of atoms, are being studied by the researchers. The thermometers are small enough for being able to show typical quantum-style behaviors.
The probes of these types were characterized by the researchers in depth, devices which would be able to give an approximation of the temperature with an accuracy level like never before. For making it possible, a combination of thermodynamic tools with quantum metrology was done, which deals with ultra-precise measures in quantum systems.
The highest level of accuracy was the goal which could be achieved in a real situation, in which measuring time could be very short given the unavoidable experimental limitations. In the research, they also saw that some of thermometers would maintain a stable, constant sensitivity over a wide range of temperature by sacrificing some of their precison.
For the authors of the research, “finding a nanothermometer sensitive enough at this scale is a great step forward in the field of nanotechnology, with applications in biology, chemistry, physics and even in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases”.
Citation: Luis A. Correa, Mohammad Mehboudi, Gerardo Adesso, et al., ‘Individual quantum probes for optimal thermometry’, Physical Review Letters, 05 June 2015