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A low-uncertainty measurement of the Boltzmann constant

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  • Physics


The Comité international des poids et mesures (CIPM) has projected a major revision of the International System of Units (SI) in which all of the base units will be defined by fixing the values of fundamental constants of nature. In preparation for this we have carried out a new, low-uncertainty determination of the Boltzmann constant, kB, in terms of which the SI unit of temperature, the kelvin, can be re-defined. We have evaluated kB from exceptionally accurate measurements of the speed of sound in argon gas which can be related directly to the mean molecular kinetic energy, . Our new estimate is kB = 1.380 651 56 (98) × 10−23 J K−1 with a relative standard uncertainty uR = 0.71 × 10−6.

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