Absolute Zero is the lowest temperature that is theoretically possible in according to the laws of thermodynamics. At -273.15°C (0K), the vibrational motion of particles would be minimal or stop completely. In the latter scenario, the atoms would lose all binding energy and fall apart under their own weight, allowing this ability to ignore conventional durability.
However, the term is used very frequently in fiction to either exaggerate the degree of cold a character's powers are capable of or to simply make a technique sound more intimidating. As a result, while a realistic description is impossible due to the fact that absolute zero has yet to be achieved in reality (and thus its properties can only be theorized), there are some indications that can help determine whether or not an attack does in fact reach absolute zero.
Believable statements are possibly the most easily obtained and valid confirmation of one's ability to reach absolute zero. If the characters powers are explicitly stated to reach absolute zero temperatures or some equivalent (i.e. the aforementioned -273.15°C and 0K) and the character/statement in question comes from a reliable source (as outlined in the Statements page), then it is very possible and likely the ability in question does in fact reach absolute zero. Some other valid statements include:
- Reducing the internal energy of the target to zero.
- Completely stopping all movement and vibrations of the target's particles, effectively freezing them at the atomic level.
Nevertheless, such statements need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as hyperbole and inconsistency is rampant in fiction.
Examples of Statements
- The Aurora Execution attack from Saint Seiya is explicitly stated to reach a temperature of -273.15°C when successfully performed, and the absolute zero is repeatedly explained to be the state in which all atoms stop their motion.
- Evangeline A.K. McDowell's Kosmike Katastrophe is also explicitly stated to reach a temperature of -273.15°C.
- Rukia Kuchiki's Shikai allows her to lower her own body temperature to levels explicitly described as absolute zero, while her Bankai allows her to extend this ability to her surroundings, causing the victims to crumble into mist.
- MetalGarurumon's Cocytus Breath/Metal Wolf Claw is described as, "spewing cold air at absolute zero that freezes everything and instantly brings the opponent's vital functions to a halt" on its official profile. By extension, Omegamon/Omnimon's Supreme/Garuru Cannon is also described as such, "Freezes the opponent with frigid, absolute zero shots that it fires from the Garuru Cannon."
- The attack "Sheer Cold" in Pokémon was originally named "Absolute Zero" in the Japanese release and is explicitly described as, "The target is attacked with a blast of absolute-zero cold." in the latest iterations of the game.
While it isn't possible to provide completely accurate visual confirmation of absolute zero, visual representations of the statements above (i.e. the very atoms of the target coming to a complete halt) may be valid. But once again, these need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and it is better to have a statement corroborating it.
Things That Are NOT Foolproof Indicators of Absolute Zero
- Flash Freezing: Any sufficiently powerful ice user is able to flash freeze most objects since every material has a freezing point. As a result, it is not a proper indicator of absolute zero.
- Superconductivity: As an object approaches absolute zero, it may gain superconductive properties, granting it virtually zero resistance to electricity and nullifying an object's natural magnetic flux field. However, while these properties point towards temperatures exceedingly close to absolute zero, they are still not indicators of absolute zero. In addition, several materials (such as magnesium diboride), become superconductors at significantly higher temperatures (in this case, 39K).
Various characters have been shown to be able to resist absolute zero attacks in fiction. However, this can generally only be recognized as a resistance to such attacks as absolute zero would affect all matter equally. Various franchises have produced characters that are able to produce or resist temperatures "below absolute zero". Due to deriding the point of being the absolute coldest possible temperature in existence, such abilities can only be described as an even greater ability to produce or resist cold, as such things would not make sense according to thermodynamics as we know it.