Planck temperature

Description

Planck temperature, denoted by TP, is the unit of temperature in the system of natural units known as Planck units.

It serves as the defining unit of the Planck temperature scale. In this scale the magnitude of the Planck temperature is equal to 1, while that of absolute zero is 0. Other temperatures can be converted to Planck temperature units. For example, 0 °C = 273.15 K = 1.9279*10-30 TP.

In SI units, the Planck temperature is about 1.417*1032 Kelvin (equivalently, degrees Celsius, since the difference is trivially small at this scale), or 2.55*1032 degrees Fahrenheit or Rankine.

History

What today is known as the Planck temperature was first introduced in 1899 by Max Planck together with his introduction of what today is known as the Planck length, the Planck mass and Planck time.

Significance

As with most of the Planck units, a Planck temperature of 1 (unity) is a fundamental limit of quantum theory, in combination with gravitation, as presently understood. In other words, the wavelength of light emitted by an object can be calculated by its temperature. If an object were to reach the temperature of 1.42*1032 Kelvin (TP), the radiation it would emit would have a wavelength of 1.616*10-35 m (Planck length), at which point quantum gravitational effects become relevant. At temperatures greater than or equal to TP, current physical theory breaks down because we lack a theory of quantum gravity.

Related formulas

Variables

 Tp Planck temperature (K) mp Planck mass c Speed of light k Boltzmann constant