The world’s most accurate thermometer is here. Australian scientists have developed a thermometer that is capable of measuring temperature with a precision of 30 billionth of a degree. Andre Luiten, lead researcher and physics professor at the University of Adelaide, said this is the best measurement of temperature ever made at room temperature.


How the world’s most accurate thermometer works

Luiten said the thermometer can deliver more precise measurements at extremely low temperatures, approaching absolute zero. The thermometer uses two different colored lights, red and green, to take such precise measurements. The red and green lights are injected into an extremely polished crystalline disk. The rate at which two lights travel depends on the temperature of the crystal. Luiten and his team were able to measure the surrounding temperature by figuring out the difference in travel time.

But how is the difference in speed measured with such a high degree of precision? By forcing the light to circulate around the edges of the crystalline disk thousands of times. This method makes it possible to record the minuscule different in the speed of two lights with great precision.

Technologies similar to this thermometer could have wide applications

Scientists found that when the crystal is heated up, the red light slows down slightly compared to the green light. The detailed work has been published in the latest issue of the Physical Review Letters journal. Dr. Luiten and his colleagues believe that a similar technology could be used to measure other ultra-sensitive things like humidity, pressure, force or to detect traces of a particular chemical.

The research work was carried out by PhD candidate Wenle Weng at the University of Adelaide. The project was supported by the South Australian Government’s Science and Research Fund and the Australian Research Council. Professor Luiten said that being able to record different aspects of our environment with near-perfect precision can revolutionize technologies used for various medical and industrial applications where detection of trace amounts is very important. And doing all this with an instrument small enough to carry around is an added bonus.