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Acoustic Thermometry: New Results From 273 K to 77 K and Progress Towards 4 K



Laurent Pitre, Michael R. Moldover, Weston L. Tew


We used a quasi-spherical cavity as an acoustic and microwave resonator to measure the thermodynamic temperatures T of the triple points of mercury, argon, neon, and equilibrium hydrogen, and to measure the difference T - T90, in the range 7 K to 273 K. (T90 is the temperature on the ITS-90.) In the range 7 K to 24.5 K, our preliminary values of T - T90 agree with recent results from dielectric-constant gas thermometry and achieve uncertainties that are comparable to, or smaller than, those achievable using the interpolating constant volume gas thermometer as currently defined on the ITS-90. In the range 90 K to 273 K, the present results for T - T90 obtained using a helium-filled, copper-walled, quasi-spherical cavity agree with earlier results obtained using argon-filled, stainless-steel-walled, spherical cavities. The agreement confirms our understanding of both acoustic and microwave cavity resonators and demonstrates that resonators function as primary thermometers spanning wide temperature ranges. The mutually consistent acoustic thermometry data from several laboratories imply that the errors in (T - T90)/T90 could be reduced by a factor of 5 near 150 K and near 400 K. They also imply that the derivative dT /dT90 too large by approximately 10-4 near 273.16 K and that dT /dT90 has a discontinuity of 4 10-5 at 273.16 K.


acoustic, acoustic thermometry, fixed points, ITS-90, microwave resonator, resonator, speed of sound, temperature, temperatures


Pitre, L. , Moldover, M. and Tew, W. (2006), Acoustic Thermometry: New Results From 273 K to 77 K and Progress Towards 4 K, Metrologia, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created December 31, 2005, Updated October 12, 2021