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Electrical Quantum Standards and their role in the SI.

Robinson, I A; Georgeakopoulos, D* (2012) Electrical Quantum Standards and their role in the SI. Meas. Sci. Technol., 23 (12). 120301

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Abstract

The International System of Units, SI, is poised to make a quantum change and become a measurement system based entirely on the fundamental properties of the natural world. In the next version of the SI, the Planck constant h, the elementary charge e, the Avogadro constant NA and the Boltzmann constant k will be fixed, in addition to the already fixed values of the speed of light c and the ground state hyperfine splitting in caesium-133. As a result, six out of the seven base units of the SI will be based directly on true invariants of nature. A major part of this change has been enabled by the ready availability of electrical quantum standards of exquisite precision and mechanisms for using them to make measurements outside the electrical arena. The overall effect will be to eliminate the remaining imprecise definitions of physical units associated with the use of artefact standards and aid direct SI measurements without problems of scaling. Fixing the Planck constant and the elementary charge will have the effect of incorporating the best physical realizations of electrical quantities into the SI, providing a system of units fit for the 21st century.

The purpose of this special feature is to review the status of electrical quantum standards and report the latest developments in those areas and their applications to other areas of metrology. The special feature coincides with the 50th anniversary of the seminal paper of Josephson, 'Possible new effects in superconductive tunnelling' [1], which established the basic physical principle upon which the quantum voltage standards are based.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Quantum, Electrical, Josephson, Quantum Hall Effect, Single electron, watt balance, SI, kilogram
Subjects: Engineering Measurements
Engineering Measurements > Mass, Force, Pressure
Identification number/DOI: 10.1088/0957-0233/23/12/120301
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 13:14
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/5673

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