Scientists Chill Atoms to Negative Temperatures

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Even though I had nothing to do with it I always feel a bit of pride when science does the seemingly impossible...

By pride I mean I am going "HELL THE F*** YES" in my mind over and over again.

Ickabod:
Wait. Doesn't this violate the laws of thermodynamics?

Not if getting out of that state reverses the energy flow in equal measure.

Thermodynamics laws were, put very basically, about energy in various forms not vanishing into nothingness and not appearing out of thin air. It looks that in this case the temperature-energy transfers that those laws described functioned, except in a direction we didn't know existed.

Provided that this test was accurate of course. Wouldn't be the first test that failed or mismeasured something.

elilupe:
I love how none of this actually makes any common sense. They have found a way to get past absolute zero without hitting it, it gets hotter than positive numbers could get, and it could lead to more than 100% efficient machines.
I love science.

Agreed, Though I still want to see a peer-review study done. We do not need another "Chemist discovering fusion, but got the math wrong" or something like that (the story was a while ago).

But still, if this is real, Warp engines, end of resource wars, maybe even Global peace.

Wait so... did we just figure out how to reverse entropy?

A lot of anime and video game villains are going to be really kerfuffled by this development.

But the thing is, "temperature" is basically defined as the kinetic energy of the particles. And therefore, the lowest possible temperature is the one where the particles are not moving at all. You can't "cool an atom below absolute zero", at least not if you still want to keep the same definition of "temperature" as we use when we say "Oh, it's 23 degrees outside".

From a thermodynamic perspective temperature also includes aspects of entropy. Negative temperature systems are in fact "hot," but the entropic properties lead it to be negative.

It's been a while since I took solid state physics, but haven't similar properties been used before?
For example a peltier cooler uses the non-conserved entropic flow of holes and electrons as a heat pump.

Ok, I think.... nope... hmmm.

K, I'm stopping now, this is currently beyond my (incredibly basic) understanding of how heat and atoms work.

...I'm going to drink the think away, this shit hurts my head.

Well, this certainly SEEMS wonderfully important. I think. Just... let me try and wrap my head around it a it more.

One question, though. Since this is obviously SCIENCE!!, does this mean we'll be getting jet packs out of this?
Because goddammit science, what are we paying you for?!

I really hope the news actually did their jobs correctly on this one.

oh, wait, it's the news, they never do their jobs, false hope spot everybody, get back to your lives.

Science, stop it! You're scaring the children... and freaking me out... were you getting high with magic again?

I have always had a theory that the universe is just fucking with us.
I think this proves it.

doggie015:
Lord Kelvin must be spinning in his grave so fast that you could hook a generator up to him and call him a power station!

A very efficient power station, apparently.

Cool. No pun intended. Thanks for the heads up. Looking forward to learning more about this.

Ickabod:
Wait. Doesn't this violate the laws of thermodynamics?

That's not even possible in any sense.
If something appears to 'violate' laws of physics, you just don't understand the laws of physics well enough.

This article more than any other science related blurb in recent memory strikes me as being complete BS. It instantly reminded me of that article where that website kept pestering people for unpaid submissions and then had to retract a story that was totally made up of gibberish that sounded plausible.

This doesn't even sound plausible.

Cool news if its true. I just find the notion of reverse entropy and energized particles glomming together instead of vibrating out to do their own thing, in contradiction to every previously observable instance of how matter behaves, is a bit much.

The part where we will have perpetual engines and such sounds silly as well.

The unsaid part where these new systems of endless energy overload and start a crazy chain reaction that vaporizes the planet and sends radioactive chunks of it to rain down on some distant world that become the only weakness for their version of superman does strike me as entirely plausible ._.

Does this article mean to say dark energy instead of dark matter? As far as we know, dark matter just has mass, not "negative pressure".

...my first thought was wtf. I don't understand any of this. But...but, does that mean that processor heatsinks could be amazing? This....this is breaking my brain.

2xDouble:
Sounds more like they created antimatter to me... but what do I know.

Well they've done that too, but in this case they're just fucking around with regular matter.

KoudelkaMorgan:

The unsaid part where these new systems of endless energy overload and start a crazy chain reaction that vaporizes the planet and sends radioactive chunks of it to rain down on some distant world that become the only weakness for their version of superman does strike me as entirely plausible ._.

Well, their version of superman would be from Earth, so that would make him... man-man? Ordinaryman?

elilupe:
I love how none of this actually makes any common sense. They have found a way to get past absolute zero without hitting it, it gets hotter than positive numbers could get, and it could lead to more than 100% efficient machines.
I love science.

yeah, i had to really rack my brain around to figure this out too. eventually i think its labels. they found a new method that does not cool particles to 0 temeprature but affects them different that would effectivelyl ead to negative temperature, but due to method it doesnt, and they called that method negative temperature making, and so on.
well either that or all laws of physics be damned we just broke the universe.

Denamic:

Ickabod:
Wait. Doesn't this violate the laws of thermodynamics?

That's not even possible in any sense.
If something appears to 'violate' laws of physics, you just don't understand the laws of physics well enough.

well if the scientists aren't playing an early april fools joke and the article is not misquoting anything or missing some relevant context we just bloody damn broke the universe. hows that for violating laws of physics?

....I think science just broke reality.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, science.


Science, mindfucking everything, in the best possible way.

I was going to go off on a rant about what negative temperature is, and why it doesn't defy our laws of physics of any way, but I saw that the ars technica link actually does a decent job of explaining it. It also has a link to the paper.
Now, if everyone going off about science breaking reality would kindly read that first I'd be happy as a clam. Or any text book on statistical physics. Please.

Well of course negative temperatures are almost infinitely hot, we're in a computer.

-1 in 8bit Binary is 11111111 which is 255 if you're not using two's compliment to represent the number.
The universe obviously uses much bigger numbers than that so it would appear to be infinitely hot.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two's_complement

Ickabod:
Wait. Doesn't this violate the laws of thermodynamics?

Nope the law of thermodynamics states that it is impossible to reach absolute zero. So they did the next best thing the skipped absolute zero and went into the negative Kelvin temperature range.

Science is fun like that.

Anyone else read the title and think "well no shit its the middle of winter"?

Greets!

Pay attention to this quote from the article here on the escapist:

"Theoretically, this innovation could lead to more than 100% efficient engines, because of the way heat would flow around the entropy sink that is a negative system. "Heat would flow from a negative to a positive temperature system," said a study scientist, "because negative temperature systems can absorb entropy while releasing energy, they give rise to counterintuitive effects."

They're trying to make a perpetual energy generation system by extending the laws of thermodynamics. Pay no heed until they have a real, working prototype.

Redingold:

Ukomba:

Redingold:

It doesn't break the third law of thermodynamics, because that only says that you can't get zero temperatures. These guys got to negative temperatures by going through infinity, by being very clever with the definition of temperature and the idea of entropy.

I want to make it clear that they have not created anything with negative heat. This thing still has positive heat and positive energy.

I didn't say it broke the 3rd, just that it might need to be extended to reflect this reversal. I don't know that it Breaks the 2nd law yet either.

Well, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

As for the second law, while they did manage to decrease the entropy of this supercooled whatever-it-is, the equipment they used will almost certainly have raised entropy in the surrounding environment, so the second law's fine too.

My thinking too. However, I'm not sure what the properties of this 'negative' heat substance is, or how, once negative, it gets heated up. If, after crossing the barrier, it stays there, it is possible that a closed system with it could lower entropy. Don't really know enough about it yet.

Ukomba:

Redingold:

Ukomba:

I didn't say it broke the 3rd, just that it might need to be extended to reflect this reversal. I don't know that it Breaks the 2nd law yet either.

Well, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

As for the second law, while they did manage to decrease the entropy of this supercooled whatever-it-is, the equipment they used will almost certainly have raised entropy in the surrounding environment, so the second law's fine too.

My thinking too. However, I'm not sure what the properties of this 'negative' heat substance is, or how, once negative, it gets heated up. If, after crossing the barrier, it stays there, it is possible that a closed system with it could lower entropy. Don't really know enough about it yet.

Nonononono. This thing does not have negative heat, it has negative temperature. Heat and temperature are not the same thing, though they may seem that way in common usage. Heat is just transferred energy, temperature takes account of both energy and entropy. The entropy is what they fiddled with to get negative temperature, not the heat.

Well far be it from me to doubt Germans but this doesn't seem legit, the entire thing start to finish reads like a Top Shop commercial taking very questionable findings into fantasy conclusions.

Until this is quadruple checked by other institutes my money rides on Load Of Bollocks.

Heat =/= Temperature

I have a feeling this isn't going to be anywhere near as cool as it sounds but if it plays out well then, yippeekayay for humanity.

Not to lend any credence to what is objectively a terrible article, much because it references a terrible news source, the Huffington Post, but I suspect that the original source for the statement regarding 100% efficiency (which of course is not properly soruced itself) may have been more intellectually innocent than the implication of the existance of a perpetuum mobile.
Namely a direct application of the well known Carnot theorem ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnot's_theorem_(thermodynamics) ) which interpretated naively could, if connected to a source of negative and another of positive energy, output more work than the ammount of heat flowing from the T>0 source simply because it would also draw energy from the T<0 source.

Bear in mind this is mere speculation and does not imply anything at all other than that a theoretical machine could produce a theoretical result without any new energy being produced, and since no source I've found explicitely references this it should stand only as a possible explanation behind some potential original claim which has since been watered down as to the least scientific aspects of the story.

Redingold:

Ukomba:

Redingold:

Well, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

As for the second law, while they did manage to decrease the entropy of this supercooled whatever-it-is, the equipment they used will almost certainly have raised entropy in the surrounding environment, so the second law's fine too.

My thinking too. However, I'm not sure what the properties of this 'negative' heat substance is, or how, once negative, it gets heated up. If, after crossing the barrier, it stays there, it is possible that a closed system with it could lower entropy. Don't really know enough about it yet.

Nonononono. This thing does not have negative heat, it has negative temperature. Heat and temperature are not the same thing, though they may seem that way in common usage. Heat is just transferred energy, temperature takes account of both energy and entropy. The entropy is what they fiddled with to get negative temperature, not the heat.

I understand that. What I mean is, if you put a colder 'negative' substance (Someone needs to think of a name for it) in a closed system with a hotter normal substance. If the negative substance retains it's properties of decreasing entropy as it's temperature increases, and all it's other properties are that of a normal substance, the total entropy of the total system would decrease. The normal substance would loose entropy as it cooled, and the negative substance would loose entropy as it is heated. The net result being a loss of entropy.

This is all hypothetical since there isn't a lot of information yet.

On a side note, if it's temperature was hot enough it's order could increase to the point where it solidified. The result could be a crystal with a massive amount of energy.

2xDouble:
Sounds more like they created antimatter to me... but what do I know.

We have been able to make antimatter for decades.

Does this mean that if you freeze system to negative temperature, entropy would keep decreasing? Its probably wouldn't violate 2nd law of thermodynamics because it doesnt sound like natural occurrence, but it blows my mind nonetheless.

Snownine:

2xDouble:
Sounds more like they created antimatter to me... but what do I know.

We have been able to make antimatter for decades.

Yes they have, albeit by different means.

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