We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Lowest Possible Temperature?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The lowest possible temperature, or absolute zero as it is called, is -459.67°F (-273.15°C). It is also called 0 kelvin, a scale with increments equivalent to degrees of Celsius, but which uses absolute zero rather than water's freezing point as its starting point. This is the point at which all atomic motion ceases.

The above definition may be incomplete, however, as an atom is itself an entity with complex internal structure. To achieve the lowest possible temperature, or true absolute zero, not only must atomic motion stop, but all of the atom's internal components would need to stop as well. Electrons would need to stop orbiting their respective atomic nuclei, the neutrons and protons in the nuclei would need to stop pulling each other around with their internal forces, the quarks, and any underlying substructure must cease all activity. Due to quantum mechanical effects, this is impossible. Therefore, a more precise definition applies to collections of matter from which no further thermal energy may be extracted, i.e., another collection of atoms brought into contact with the sample will always transfer energy to it, never the reverse.

Like the efficiency of a system, the velocity of a particle, or the maximum possible temperature, absolute zero is actually a theoretical quantity that can only be approached, but likely never achieved.

Temperatures near absolute zero have been achieved with the techniques of laser cooling and magnetic evaporative cooling. In laser cooling, fast-moving atoms are jostled with photons until they slow down to 1/10,000th of a degree kelvin. In magnetic evaporative cooling, the remaining atoms are held in loosely place by a magnetic field, and the more energetic atoms eventually escape, leaving behind the slowest remainders. Using these techniques, temperatures as low as 250 picokelvins (pK) have been achieved. Matter this cold can behave in bizarre ways, forming structures called Bose-Einstein condensates, which demonstrate a property called superfluidity, or the flowing of atoms without viscosity.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
By anon306182 — On Nov 28, 2012

Boomerang Nebula achieved 1K to become the coldest natural object known to man.

By InfoJunkie — On Jan 23, 2012

I like to use articles like this to prove just how wrong my children can be.

By anon138346 — On Dec 31, 2010

I do wonder, would absolute zero be present when the universe starts to contract? That would be sick, total atomic motion ceases. And wouldn't freezing you kill you anyway?

By GameHunter00 — On Sep 18, 2010

CancerKicker- Yeah I read further into it after you responded and found that people not only freeze themselves but also freeze their pets. And that they will just totally let you thaw out and bury you if they don't receive your payment.

That's not for me at all. When I'm gone I'm gone. My wife can use my life insurance check to do whatever she wants. I read people will leave their money to these companies!

By CancerKicker — On Sep 18, 2010

GameHunter00- No freezing the dead is not science fiction; even though the process has never proven successful it seems people are willing to take that risk for a lot of money. Long-term cryopreservation works by cooling the just deceased person to near 77.15 Kelvin.

Then as long as the payments are made and the company remains in business, they preserve the body until hopefully someday a way to unfreeze the body and repair the tissue damage is discovered. They are 100% unsure what condition the body and mind would be after thawing out from cryonics.

By GameHunter00 — On Sep 18, 2010

Is it true some people are frozen and stored somewhere only to be thawed way in the future? Has it been proven they can be brought back to life or are they frozen with no guarantee to be awoken? I just heard of it and wasn’t sure if it’s real or science fiction.

By BabyBoomer67 — On Sep 18, 2010

stare31- That is too funny. I was for certain absolute zero was at the polar ice caps or even on another planet. But to find out achieving absolute zero is about as impossible as counting to infinity is crazy. I didn’t know it was that hard to cease thermal energy, but I guess I’m comparing it to what a human can stand versus life in its simplest form.

By stare31 — On Oct 15, 2009

I swear I experienced the lowest possible temperature when I visited East Slovakia in the winter! ;)

Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
Learn more
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.