Primary Electronic Thermometry Using the Shot Noise of a Tunnel Junction

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Science  20 Jun 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5627, pp. 1929-1932
DOI: 10.1126/science.1084647

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We present a thermometer based on the electrical noise from a tunnel junction. In this thermometer, temperature is related to the voltage across the junction by a relative noise measurement with only the use of the electron charge, Boltzmann's constant, and assumption that electrons in a metal obey Fermi-Dirac statistics. We demonstrate proof-of-concept operation of this primary thermometer over four orders of magnitude in temperature, with as high as 0.1% accuracy and 0.02% precision in the range near 1 kelvin. The self-calibrating nature of this sensor allows for a much faster and simpler measurement than traditional Johnson noise thermometry, making it potentially attractive for metrology and for general use in cryogenic systems.

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