Thermometry of ultracold atoms via nonequilibrium work distributions

T. H. Johnson, F. Cosco, M. T. Mitchison, D. Jaksch, S. R. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Estimating the temperature of a cold quantum system is difficult. Usually one measures a well-understood thermal state and uses that prior knowledge to infer its temperature. In contrast, we introduce a method of thermometry that assumes minimal knowledge of the state of a system and is potentially nondestructive. Our method uses a universal temperature dependence of the quench dynamics of an initially thermal system coupled to a qubit probe that follows from the Tasaki-Crooks theorem for nonequilibrium work distributions. We provide examples for a cold-atom system, in which our thermometry protocol may retain accuracy and precision at subnano-Kelvin temperatures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number053619
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2016


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