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article imageLab creates coldest air in the universe

By Tim Sandle     Oct 24, 2014 in Science
A laboratory has created the coldest cubic meter in the universe. The air was developed in Italy and was verified using instruments designed by Yale University.
An international group of scientists set an impressive world record by cooling a copper vessel containing a cubic meter of air space down to a temperature of 6 milliKelvins. That is minus 273.144 degrees Celsius (or minus 459.67 Fahrenheit). This represented the first ever study to cool down an object of this size down to absolute zero. Absolute zero is the lower limit of the thermodynamic temperature scale; it is also the point at which the fundamental particles of nature have minimal vibrational motion. The temperature was maintained over 15 days, according to Phys Org.
The international team worked under the title of CUORE (Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events). The collaborative effort involved 130 scientists. The work took place in a cleanroom (a room of low air particulates) located underground at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory of the Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, in Italy (the highest peak in the Apennines). CUORE is part of the new experimental program in neutrinos and dark matter.
The copper chamber was a form of cryostat, designed in a way so that it can be rapidly cooled to a very low temperature. The Yale instrumentation was a special detector that used radioactive sources into the coldest region of the cryostat in order to measure and record the temperature drop.
The study was led by Karsten Heeger, a professor of physics at Yale and director of Yale’s Arthur W. Wright Laboratory.
When the CUORE experiment is fully operational it will be used to study the properties of neutrinos, the fundamental, subatomic particles that are created by radioactive decay. This will help to inform scientists about the nature of the universe.
More about absolute zero, Freezing, Space, Cold, Copper
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