Recently physicists at the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany have registered a temperature a “few billionths of a Kelvin” below absolute-zero.
Now you’re probably thinking what???
If the Kelvin measurement of temperature is a measure of the energy of particles then how can we achieve a negative temperature and thus a negative energy? Furthermore if at Zero Kelvin particles stop moving how can you take energy from them?
Well some scientists are now theorizing that the temperature scale is a loop with positive temperature on one half and negative on the other end. Zero Kelvin and Infinity separate the positive and negative. If temperature ‘exceed’ infinity or go ‘below’ zero, they end up in the negative loop.
So how did physicists achieve this result? Well what they did cooled about 100,000 gas particles to a few nanokelvins in a vacuum chamber. At this extremely low temperature, the physicist than used a magnetic field to creating a stronger attraction force between the particles than the repulsions forces, resulting in a negative pressure. The negative temperature prevents the system from collapsing after a negative pressure is achieved. The end result was absolute temperature a few nanokelvins below zero. These negative temperature particles behaved exactly opposite of regular particles. The particles were more likely to occupy high energy level. Some physics also believe that the negative temperature has parallels with dark energy, the mysterious energy powering the expansion of the universe.
It will be very interesting to see how the scientific community responds to this 'discovery'. Will we learn about it in college or will it be disproved.
Here a link for any of you who want to read more about this very strange concept.