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Magnetic Thermometers

It's a Secondary Thermometer that depends on Curie's law which states

that the magnetic susceptibility of noninteracting (that is, paramagnetic)
dipole moments is inversely proportional to absolute temperature.
Classifying this type of thermometer as a secondary thermometer
seems unjustified at first glance, because the temperature
dependence of the magnetic susceptibility of paramagnets is
: described by the fundamental Curie–Weiss law
χ = CT - Tc
where Tc represents the Curie temperature. However, in general,
one has to fix the two parameters C and Tc for each thermometer
.individually by calibrating it against other thermometers

There are many possible ways to measure the magnetic

susceptibility of paramagnetic substances at low temperatures [2],[3]
.Two different possibilities are depicted schematically in Fig. 12.26.
The classical method is to use a mutual inductance bridge. In this
method, the paramagnet of interest is located inside a coil, the
.inductance of which is compared to a known reference inductance

A second method allowing a much higher resolution to be obtained

is based on the deployment of a SQUID magnetometer. In this case,
the paramagnetic sample is located in a coil, which is part of a fully
superconducting loop formed by the secondary coil and the SQUID
input coil. To reduce the influence of external disturbances and
possible background signals, the secondary coil consists of a pair of
astatic coils with the sample in one of them. The secondary coil is
located in a small constant magnetic field. A variation of the
magnetization of the paramagnetic sample leads to a change of the
current in the superconducting loop and therefore to a change of
the magnetic flux coupled into the SQUID. The feedback electronics
of the SQUID controller provides an additional flux at the SQUID,
which is regulated in such a way that the total flux at the SQUID is
kept constant. In this case, the signal is given by the current that is
used to compensate the flux. With this experimental setup, one can
measure the relative change of the magnetic susceptibility very
precisely. Susceptibility thermometers designed for a special
purpose have provided the best ever relative temperature resolution
at 1K of ΔT/T ≈ 10−10 [4] . However, the absolute value of the
temperature cannot be obtained with high accuracy. An interesting
feature of susceptibility thermometers is that the relative accuracy
increases with decreasing temperature, because of the 1/T
.dependence of the susceptibility

Electron Magnetic Moments

For a long time, paramagnetic salts were exclusively used for

magnetization thermometers. For the operation range of a dilution
refrigerator, the salt cerium magnesium nitrate (CMN) is particularly
suitable. CMN has a very low ordering temperature, Tc ≈ 2mK, into
an antiferromagnetic state. At the same time, CMN has a relatively
large Curie constant so that the temperature variation of the
magnetic susceptibility at low temperature is rather high in
comparison to other systems. On the other hand, this substance and
other paramagnetic salts also have serious disadvantages. The
response time at low temperatures can be long, since thermal
coupling to the salt crystals is difficult to establish. Because of this,
CMN thermometers have often been used inside the mixing
chamber where they are surrounded by liquid 3He. In addition, CMN
thermometers cannot be operated in vacuum without precautions,
since the water of hydration would be pumped out and the magnetic
.susceptibility would change

These disadvantages can be avoided by using nonmagnetic metals

doped with small amounts of magnetic impurities. One such system,
which has been successfully used in the past is palladium containing
a few ppm of iron. The response time of this type of thermometer at
10mK is less than one second and therefore at least 100 times
shorter than that of a typical CMN thermometer. Figure 12.27a
shows a sketch of the construction of a PdFe thermometer. A
measurement of the magnetic susceptibility of Pd containing 15
.ppm Fe is shown in Fig. 12.27b

A similar system that is in some ways even more favorable for

thermometry purposes is gold containing small amounts of erbium.
The interaction between the erbium ions in gold is much weaker
than the corresponding interaction between the Fe ions in
palladium. This means that the transition into a spin-glass state
takes place at much lower temperatures. Figure 12.28 shows the
magnetic susceptibility of gold containing 60 ppm erbium as a
function of temperature. The solid line in Fig. 12.28 corresponds to
the Curie law. A hint of the existence of a transition into the spin-
.glass state is visible at about 250 μK

Fig. 12.27. (a) Schematic illustration of the construction of a PdFe

susceptibility thermometer. The primary and secondary coils are
wound directly onto the PdFe sample. A niobium tube is used to
screen magnetic fields. (b) Inverse magnetic susceptibility (χ−χ0)−1
of Pd doped with 15 ppm Fe as a function of temperature. A SRM768
fixed-point thermometer was used to determine the temperature.
The occurrence of the constant χ0 can be explained by the presence
of a temperatureindependent background. The solid line
corresponds to the Curie behavior [5
Nuclear Magnetic Moments

Although the magnetic moments of nuclei are roughly a factor of

1000 smaller than that of electrons, they can still be used for
magnetic thermometry. In particular, for temperatures below 1mK
the measurement of the magnetization of nuclear spins is an
.important means of determining the temperature

Using a high-resolution SQUID magnetometer it is also possible to

use the magnetic susceptibility of nuclei at higher temperatures as
a measure for the temperature. As an example, we show in Fig.
12.29 the measurement of the magnetization of a very pure copper
sample (6N) in a magnetic field of 0.25 mT. To determine the
temperature, a 3He melting-curve thermometer was used. The
resolution of this setup was sufficiently high to measure the
magnetization even at 900mK without difficulty. The data shown in
Fig. 12.29 perfectly follows the Curie law. Within the experimental
accuracy, the observed Curie constant agrees well with the
.calculated value for copper

Nevertheless, one has to be careful in measurements of the static

magnetization of nuclear spins, because even very small amounts of
impurities with electronic magnetic moments can cause a significant
temperature-dependent contribution. At low fields, for example, the
presence of just 1 ppm of iron can give the same contribution to the
signal as the copper nuclei themselves. To suppress this effect, one
should measure the magnetization in large fields, because under
these conditions the contribution of the electronic spins saturates. A
second method to reduce this problem is to perform a resonant
measurement of the magnetization, as we shall see in the following

: References
C.Enns, S.Hunklinger, Low-Temperature Physics, 2005, Springer [1]
Berlin Heidelberg New York, ISBN-10 3-540-23164-1

F. Pobell, Matter and Methods at Low Temperatures, (Springer, [2]

(Heidelberg 1996

R.P. Hudson, H. Marshak, R.J. Soulen Jr., D.B. Utton, J. Low Temp. [3]
(Phys. 20, 1 (1975

T.C.P. Chui, D.R. Swanson, M.J. Adriaans, J.A. Nissen, J.A. Lipa, [4]
(Phys. Rev. Lett. 69, 3005 (1992

M. Jutzler, B. Schr¨oder, K. Gloos, F. Pobell, Z. Phys. B 64, 115 [5]


R. K¨onig, T. Herrmannsd¨orfer, C. Enss, private [656]


R.A. Buhrmann, W.P. Halperin, S.W. Schwenterly, J. Reppy, [657]

,R.C. Richardson
W.W.Webb, Proc. 12th International Conf. Low Temp. Phys., (E.
Kanda ed.) (Academic Press Japan, Tokyo 1971), p. 831