eli5: What happens at absolute zero?


eli5: What happens at absolute zero?

In: 6

Matter consists of atoms. Atoms ‘jiggle’ due to thermal energy, but cease to do so at absolute zero.

absolutely nothing happens and that’s a problem.

absolute zero can not be achieved as that would mean matter, be it atoms or even the quarks atoms are made of would not jiggle.

We can get extremely close to 0, but will never reach it.

Those other comments about atoms not moving aren’t true. They actually would just be at a minimum level of movement, due to quantum mechanics. Temperature is basically how much the atoms are moving. 0 is the least possible movement (not 0 movement).

As far as we know it is also not really possible to reach absolute zero so it’s kinda moot.

Hard to give more info while staying eli5 but if you want to try to understand more Wikipedia explains parts well if you follow the embedded links. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_zero

temperature is the energy of atom movement. High temperature = atoms move a lot. Low temperature = atoms move slower. By definition, zero temperature means zero energy = zero movement. Imagine taking a photo of something – thats essentially what absolute zero is. No atom movement of any kind.

Absolute zero is when atoms have the smallest amount of movement possible.
Furthermore close to it all elements adopt something like a new state.
They become superconduits. Meaning each element becomes a near perfect conduit for electric currents.
This has a wide variety of technical allocations as a lot could be done with it. Like making magnetic hovercraft. But its very costly to reach such low temperatures.
Some elements may reach this state at ca. -200 degrees Celsius already, others must get close to absolute zero.

One could argue there are five states of matter: solid, fluid, gas, plasma (very hot) and superconduit (very cold).