Cheaper refrigerators? Stronger hip implants? A better understanding of human disease? All of these could be possible and more, someday, thanks to an ambitious new project underway at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
NIST researchers are in the early stages of a massive undertaking to design and build a fleet of tiny ultra-sensitive thermometers. If they succeed, their system will be the first to make real-time measurements of temperature on the microscopic scale in an opaque 3D volume — which could include medical implants, refrigerators, and even the human body.
The project is called Thermal Magnetic Imaging and Control (Thermal MagIC), and the researchers say it could revolutionize temperature measurements in many fields: biology, medicine, chemical synthesis, refrigeration, the automotive industry, plastic production — “pretty much anywhere temperature plays a critical role,” said NIST physicist Cindi Dennis. “And that’s everywhere.”