Swiss scientists have set a new world record for the coldest temperature by cooling a nanoelectronic chip to 2.8 millikelvin. This is the closest to absolute zero (0 kelvin or -273.15 degrees celcius) ever reached before.
The landmark was set by combining two magnetic cooling systems – one attached to the chip itself. The same technique could be used to reach the 1 millikelvin mark, according to Dominik Zumbühl, a professor of physics at the University of Basel.
Achieving such low temperatures is not just an academic exercise. “Extremely low temperatures offer the ideal conditions for quantum experiments and allow entirely new physical phenomena to be examined,” according to a press releaseexternal link from the university.
The likelihood of such discoveries was boosted by the achievement of maintaining the record low temperature for a period of seven hours.
The successful team comprised members of Basel University’s department of physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute along with colleagues from Germany and Finland.