MADRID, 17 (EUROPEAN PRESS)
Physics professor James Q. Quach, of the University of Adelaide, a member of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS), said in a statement: “We have designed a quantum thermometer that can measure extremely small temperature changes. The theoretical design of the quantum thermometer is based on the same technology used to build quantum computers.
Einstein predicted that the speed at which time is sensed depends on the speed at which you travel: A person moving very fast ages more slowly than someone standing still. This led to his Theory of General Relativity, which states that space and time work together like a fabric that can bend and warp.
The relationship between temperature and acceleration is similar to the relationship between time and speed. Different observers moving at different accelerations would observe different, albeit minute, temperature differences.
“In 1976, Canadian physicist William Unruh combined Einstein’s work with the other fundamental theory of modern physics, quantum mechanics, and predicted that the fabric of space-time has a very low temperature,” said Dr. Quach.
“Interestingly, this temperature changes depending on how fast you move. To see this temperature change, you would have to move extremely fast. To see even a temperature change of one degree, you would have to approach the speed of light. Until now. these extreme speeds have prevented researchers from verifying Unruh’s theory.”
dr. Quach and his colleagues, Professor William Munro of NTT Basic Research Laboratories in Japan and Professor Timothy Ralph of the University of Queensland, published their work in the journal Physical Review Letters.
“In theory, a quantum thermometer doesn’t need to physically accelerate, but instead uses a magnetic field to accelerate the device’s internal energy gap,” says Dr. Quach, noting that the quantum thermometer can be built with current technology.
The team’s work has important implications for future research. The quantum thermometer can be used to measure ultra-cold temperatures and with an accuracy that conventional thermometers cannot.