Sensor consultants invent supercool mini thermometer

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NIST sensor experts invent supercool mini thermometer
Two of NIST’s superconducting thermometers for measuring cryogenic temperatures are glued to the decrease left and higher proper of this amplifier. The miniature thermometers, manufactured from niobium on a layer of silicon dioxide, measure the temperature of the amplifier or different system primarily based on a frequency sign. Credit score: Wheeler/NIST

Researchers on the Nationwide Institute of Requirements and Know-how (NIST) have invented a miniature thermometer with huge potential purposes corresponding to monitoring the temperature of processor chips in superconductor-based quantum computer systems, which should keep chilly to work correctly.


NIST’s superconducting measures temperatures under 1 Kelvin (minus 272.15 °C or minus 457.87 °F), right down to 50 milliKelvin (mK) and probably 5 mK. It’s smaller, quicker and extra handy than standard cryogenic thermometers for chip-scale units and could possibly be mass produced. NIST researchers describe the design and operation in a brand new journal paper.

Simply 2.5 by 1.15 millimeters in dimension, the brand new thermometer might be embedded in or caught to a different cryogenic microwave system to measure its when mounted on a chip. The researchers used the thermometer to reveal quick, correct measurements of the heating of a superconducting microwave amplifier.

The know-how is a derivative of NIST’s customized superconducting sensors for telescope cameras, particularly microwave detectors delivered for the BLAST balloon.

“This was a enjoyable concept that shortly grew into one thing very useful,” group chief Joel Ullom mentioned. “The thermometer permits researchers to measure the temperature of a variety of parts of their take a look at packages at little or no value and with out introducing a lot of further electrical connections. This has the potential to learn researchers working in or utilizing low-temperature sensors in a variety of fields.”

The thermometer consists of a superconducting niobium resonator coated with silicon dioxide. The coating interacts with the resonator to shift the frequency at which it naturally vibrates. Scientists suspect this is because of atoms “tunneling” between two websites, a quantum-mechanical impact.

The NIST thermometer is predicated on a brand new software of the precept that the pure frequency of the resonator is dependent upon the temperature. The thermometer maps modifications in frequency, as measured by electronics, to a temperature. In contrast, standard thermometers for sub-Kelvin temperatures are primarily based on electrical resistance. They require wiring routed to room-temperature electronics, including complexity and probably inflicting heating and interference.

The NIST thermometer measures temperature in about 5 milliseconds (thousandths of a second), a lot quicker than most standard resistive thermometers at about one-tenth of a second. The NIST thermometers are additionally straightforward to manufacture in solely a single course of step. They are often mass produced, with greater than 1,200 becoming on a 3-inch (roughly 75-millimeter) silicon wafer.


Tips on how to take your temperature


Extra info:
J. Wheeler et al. Sub-kelvin thermometer for on-chip measurements of microwave units using two-level programs in superconducting microresonators, Utilized Physics Letters (2020). DOI: 10.1063/5.0029351

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Sensor consultants invent supercool mini thermometer (2020, November 17)
retrieved 17 November 2020
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