The Physics
Opus in profectus

Absolute Zero

search icon


Amontons hypothesized a state devoid of heat in a paper published in 1703.

All systems in thermodynamic equilibrium at absolute zero have vanishing entropy. This principle is called the Nernst heat theorem, or. the third law of thermodynamics. Walther Nernst (1864–1941) Germany.

It is impossible reduce the temperature of any systems to absolute zero in a finite number of steps.

The Laws of Thermodynamics

  1. There is a game.
  2. You can't win.
  3. You must lose.
  4. You can't quit.

Onnes' helium liquefaction cascade: chloromethane, ethylene, oxygen, liquid air, hydrogen, helium. Onnes had a monopoly on the production of liquid helium

William Francis Giauque & Peter Joseph William Debye, adiabatic demagnetization of paramagnetic salts: iron ammonium alum, chromium potassium alum, cerium magnesium nitrate

Cryogenic milestones
date kelvin
1724 233 Cascade series
Gabriel Fahrenheit, Netherlands
1834 163 Mixture of dry ice, snow, and ether
Charles Thilorier, France
1877 133 Droplets of liquid oxygen
Raoul Pictet, Geneva/Louis Cailletet, France
1883 90 Measurable quantity of liquid oxygen
Zygmunt Wróblewski & Karol Olszewski, Poland
1886 54 Oxygen solidified
James Dewar, Robert Lennox & James Heath, England
1898 21 Hydrogen liquefied
James Dewar, Robert Lennox & James Heath, England
1899 14 Hydrogen solidified
James Dewar, Robert Lennox & James Heath, England
1908 4 Helium liquefied
Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, Netherlands
1908 1 Evaporation of liquid helium
Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, Netherlands
1926 0.95 Helium solidified under 26 atm pressure
Willem Keesom, Netherlands
1933 0.27 Adiabatic demagnetization of paramagnetic salts
Wander de Haas, Netherlands
1956 16 × 10−6 Adiabatic nuclear demagnetization
Nicholas Kurti & Francis Simon, England
1970s ? ?
1980s ? ?
280 × 10−12
250 × 10−12
100 × 10−12
Adiabatic nuclear demagnetization of rhodium
Helsinki University of Technology
2015 050 × 10−12 Matter wave lensing
Stanford University, California