Young Professionals 2018: The Next Generation in Cryogenics Part 1

Young Professionals introduces outstanding young professionals (under 40 years of age) who are doing interesting things in cryogenics and superconductivity and who show promise of making a difference in their fields. Debuted in the Summer 2006 issue, the feature has presented many young persons whom we are proud to see have indeed lived up to that promise. Click here for Part 2 of the sixth installment of this series.

Jason-Hartwig_webJason Hartwig, 38
My educational and professional background: I have a BS in physics and an MS and PhD in aerospace engineering. I began my career at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in 2009, working first as a contractor and then as a civil servant in support of its cryogenic propulsion group.

How I got into cryogenics: I’ve been working in low temperature physics since 2003, when as an undergraduate I helped design a helium refrigerator to study diluted magnetic semiconductors down to < 1 K. Difficulty is both what got me into and keeps me working in cryogenics. Most phenomena that occur at cryogenic temperatures are much more complicated relative to those at room temperature. Take, for example, simple fluid flow through a pipe, where at room temperature you really don’t have to worry about chilldown or vapor locking.

My mentor and my experience with him/her: I’ve had the privilege of working with many senior level cryogenic engineers whom I consider mentors in some capacity, including John Jurns, Dave Chato and Greg Zimmerli. Michael Meyer, Michael Doherty and David Plachta have also been especially helpful both personally and professionally.

My present company/position: I’m presently a research aerospace engineer at the NASA Glenn Research Center in its fluids and cryogenics branch.
Awards/honors: I’ve won several individual and group achievement awards, but the most recent one was the NASA Early Career Achievement Medal. I’ve also had the privilege of appearing on the BBC, the Science Channel, National Geographic and Canadian Discovery.

My contributions to the cryogenic field: My research focuses mainly on all aspects of cryogenic fluid transfer. On the space side, I’ve conducted many tests­—both on the ground and in reduced gravity—using five different cryogens to improve our understanding and optimize the efficiency with which we transfer liquid propellant from a tank and chill down transfer lines and tanks. I developed a pioneering suite of analytical tools for cryogenic PMDs and helped develop two-phase quenching heat transfer correlations. My group is also working on developing “universal” models for chilldown and transfer based on historical and recent test data. On the aeronautics side, I helped build and test the first high-Tc superconducting coil test rig at NASA Glenn, and we’re currently developing a low-Tc test rig. We are also developing a submersible vehicle to explore the extraterrestrial oceans of Saturn’s moon Titan.

What are the most important developments in cryogenics? I think the two most important developments in cryogenics are zero boiloff systems (e.g. cryocoolers) of all sizes and higher-Tc superconductors and test capabilities. We’re actively working on developing both of these technology areas.

What advances do you hope to see in the future? First, I hope large scale, flightweight zero boiloff systems become fully operational. Second, I hope we can finally pull off the elusive microgravity cryogenic fluid demonstration, where we can show once and for all that we can store cryogenic propellant in space indefinitely, and prove we can transfer propellant as we would in a depot. With consistent funding, I see these two advances happening within the next 10 to 15 years.

Third, I hope that unmanned missions to Europa, Enceladus and Titan become a reality, because vehicles to those moons will require experts in cryogenics from across the field. Such missions will require large investments and may take time.

Where can readers find out more about your projects? Readers can learn more about my projects through publications shared on ResearchGate:

Laura-Garcia-Fajardo_webLaura Garcia Fajardo, 33
My educational and professional background: I earned my engineering degree in nuclear and energy technologies in 2007 at the Higher Institute of Technology and Applied Sciences (InSTEC) in Havana. I then worked there as lecturer and researcher, teaching numerical methods and neutron physics while studying advanced nuclear systems with TRISO fuel for the transmutation of long-lived nuclear wastes and the implementation of deterministic computational methods for neutron diffusion problems.

In 2008, I obtained a grant from the Spanish Cooperation Agency for International Development (AECID) to pursue my PhD studies at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV). From 2008 to 2012, I combined my studies in Spain with my work and research in Cuba, earning my MS in engineering in energy and nuclear facilities in 2010 at InSTEC and my PhD in engineering and industrial production, together with a Cum Laude award, at UPV in 2012. The topic of my research was the design of accelerator driven systems (ADS) for nuclear waste transmutation, focusing on the neutronic and thermohydraulic studies of the subcritical nuclear core. This research work is part of a scientific project that won the Award of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba in 2015.

How I got into cryogenics: I started looking for employment opportunities a few weeks before completing my PhD dissertation, expecting to continue my research in the field of ADS. At that time, the discovery of the Higgs boson put CERN in the spotlight and I knew there was a group there dedicated to ADS research, so I applied for a fellow position. Some days later, I received an offer to join a team working with superconducting magnets. I knew nothing about superconducting magnets but I thought it was a good opportunity and the right moment to change direction, as nuclear energy had gained a very bad reputation after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011 and financial support for nuclear power-related projects had decreased in Europe.
I started work at CERN in 2013 as a fellow in the technology department. My main project was the design of superconducting (Nb3Sn) wiggler magnets for the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC) collaboration and the fabrication of a small prototype. The first test of the prototype, performed at the end of last year, was successful, and work will continue this year. I also performed mechanical measurements of Rutherford cables at room temperature to study the dimensional changes of the coils during the fabrication process. Additionally, I performed mechanical measurements of Roebel cables at room temperature and in liquid nitrogen in order to calculate the Young modulus. I improved the measurement procedure and designed the measurement setup depending on the sample’s characteristics.

My present company/position: My years at CERN provided an opportunity to take part in a large-scale multidisciplinary project that broadened my knowledge and prepared me for work in an international environment. I planned on returning to the nuclear field after CERN, but ended up applying for a postdoc position to work on the research and development of high temperature superconducting magnets after learning from some colleagues about the projects ongoing at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

I am currently a postdoc at LBNL, working on the design and manufacturing of Canted Cosine Theta (CCT) magnet prototypes that use Rutherford cables made of Bi-2212. Bi-2212 is an HTS whose critical current is sensitive to strain; therefore, managing the stress on the Bi-2212 conductor caused by the Lorentz forces is indispensable to making the magnet work. I’m responsible for the magnetic and mechanical design and follow-up for the manufacturing process of the prototypes. There are two subscale dipoles under manufacture, with the goal of testing and then applying the Bi-2212 technology to accelerator magnets. Other prototypes that aim to increase the efficiency of the CCT concept are under design and discussion.

My mentor and my experience with him/her: I am grateful for the people who have been part of my professional career and have contributed positively to my achievements, especially my mentors and my closest colleagues. I would start by mentioning Prof. Carlos R. García Hernández, my mentor at InSTEC and a great educator, friend and tireless worker for science. His enthusiasm, enlightenment and endurance were an inspiration during the early years of my career. Prof. Alberto Escrivá Castells, my PhD supervisor at UPV, was always helpful and comprehensive when I had to combine my PhD research in Spain with my work at the university in Cuba. And I am especially thankful to Dr. Paolo Ferracin, my supervisor at CERN, who gave me the opportunity to enter the world of accelerator magnets and was always supportive in my early years in the new field.

At LBNL, Stephen Gourlay and Shlomo Caspi, together with my supervisor Soren Prestemon and Tengming Shen, the head of the project of HTS magnet technologies I am working for, are scientists I have learned a lot from, not only from a technical perspective but also about navigating politics and management in science and technology.

What are the most important developments in cryogenics? To me, as a person who works in the field of superconducting magnets, the most important contributions to the cryogenic field are, in general, the liquefaction of helium, the discovery of superconductivity, the stabilization of superconductors, the creation of the dewar to store cryogens, the development of cryostats and the development of materials with appropriate mechanical properties at cryogenic temperatures. Superconducting magnets resulted from bringing together all these developments, and the importance of superconducting magnets in high energy physics, plasma physics and medicine is remarkable.

One key application of HTS is superconducting magnets capable of reaching magnetic fields beyond the limit of low temperature superconducting magnets. Currently, the main effort is focused on building HTS magnets to be inserted in the bore of LTS magnets. I am working on the design and fabrication of HTS magnet prototypes for that purpose and I look forward to seeing an HTS-LTS combined magnet fabricated.

Where can readers find out more about your projects? I have an account on Linkedin and ResearchGate where I upload some on my publications, while the ATAP and engineering divisions at LBNL actively post ongoing projects and activities.

Kavita-Pande_webKavita N. Pande, 33
My educational and professional background: I earned my MS in chemistry and organic chemistry in 2008 from Nagpur University, and later completed my PhD (2013) at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), studying the effect of cryogenic treatment of polymers, composites and blends. I am currently pursuing postdoctoral research.

Before my PhD, I worked with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute as an intern and research fellow. My work focused on the synthesis of isomers through Stobe’s condensation reaction and identification through NMR; and the synthesis of CQD with different routes and its characterization and environmental impact and risk assessment.
Since 2012, I have worked as a research associate at VNIT, where I am also responsible for testing and consultancy work and co-supervision of its UG/PG research projects.

How I got into cryogenics: I came across a seminar on the cryogenic treatment of steels from Dr. C.L. Gogte, of the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT), after I had decided to pursue a PhD. This research shaped my mind and I decided to study the cryogenic treatment of polymers.
My mentor and my experience with him/her: I consider both Dr. Gogte and Dr. Dilip Peshwe, a professor of metallurgical and materials engineering at VNIT, as mentors. Dr. Gogte has helped me a lot, providing direction for my work in cryogenics, while Dr. Peshwe, my supervisor, has offered me insight into working in the field of cryogenics with polymeric materials.

Awards/honors: I have received several honors and awards recognizing academic achievement and professional accomplishments. These accolades include a National Level Award from India’s National Green Highway Mission; two best paper and one best poster presentation at conferences; invited talks at workshops and symposiums; recognition for training school children; and acknowledgment from industry for contributions to cryotreatment.

My contributions to the cryogenic field: My 10 years in research has allowed me to better understand the commercial implications of my studies and has inspired me to enhance the impact of my work by choosing interesting problems with clear applications. I have invested a great deal of thought and effort to the underpinnings of material chemistry in order to build materials that can be tested and used in realistic conditions. This includes problems such as the wear of non-stick cookware coatings, where cryotreatment can improve wear properties by nearly 60 percent.

I have contributed multiple research papers on the cryogenic treatment of various materials, including papers that address the optimization of cryotreatment time and temperature parameters; cryo-structural modifications; simulations for cryotreatment; material specific cryotreatment process; aging of materials in cryogenic liquid; wear resistance properties after cryotreatment; and other cryo-related aspects during the cryotreatment of polymers.

I have been awarded two patents for my work. One covers the effectiveness of cryotreatment on polymer composites. Cryogenic treatment has been found to be the most effective technique to improve wear performance in polymers. My research showed that a cryostructural modification could take place in both polymers and composites in only eight hours, far less than the 24-hour period previously recorded.

The second patent involves the non-isothermal crystallization kinetics of cryogenically treated PBT/Wollastonite composite to assess its reprocessing. The cryotreatment of the polymer is now a well-established process, but questions remained concerning its reuse. In my study, the structural, thermal and mechanical properties were found to be retained and in some cases enhanced after reprocessing of the cryotreated polymer.

In addition to these patents, I am a co-author of “Cryogenic Treatment of Cubic Boron Nitride (CBN) Cutting Inserts,” a book that discusses cryogenic treatment as a means to maximize the potential of CBN as a cutting material in hard turning. I have also written a proposed chapter for a book that will discuss the effectiveness of cryotreatment on polymer nanocomposites.

What are the most important developments in cryogenics? Cryotreatment is material specific and must be optimized for each and every material of interest. It is very difficult, however, to optimize treatment for each polymer. I have tailored my work towards minimizing the effort needed for the optimization of cryotreatment. I have chosen polymers with different functional groups and studied their behavior after cryotreatment for the optimization of the time and temperature parameters. The research will help generate an optimized cryotreatment parameter template for all polymers and their composites in order to treat the desired material cryogenically.

What advances do you hope to see in the future? In the near future, cryogenics faces a lot of challenges as it is difficult to convince those outside the lab to adopt and incorporate new advances into mainstream practice, be it for engineering, manufacturing or medicine.

This can be overcome with industry and research group collaborations, but to achieve this the research community has to take the initiative to bring their respective work from lab to land. At our institute, the group working in the area of cryotreatment of polymers is already working on actual industrial problems. It is a slow process, but I hope to establish cryotreatment as a crucial and integral part of processing technology.

Where can readers find out more about your projects? Readers with interest can reach me via email at

Emmanuele-Ravaioli_webEmmanuele Ravaioli, 33
My educational and professional background: I studied energy engineering at the University of Bologna, Italy, and defended my PhD in applied physics at the University of Twente, The Netherlands. I worked at CERN for six years (2009-2015) on magnet quench protection, multi-physics simulations and circuit design. I then worked as a Toohig fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where I was responsible for the design of the quench protection system of the High-Luminosity LHC inner triplet circuit.

How I got into cryogenics: I became fascinated by the field of superconductivity after an awesome lesson by Prof. Breschi at the University of Bologna where he explained many interesting projects related to superconductivity to a class of wide-eyed undergraduate students.

My mentor and my experience with him/her: Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to have excellent mentors. Prof. Breschi first taught me about superconductivity and encouraged me to work in this field while I was at the University of Bologna. At CERN, my supervisor Dr. Verweij perfectly balanced mentoring and letting me work autonomously. While at the University of Twente, Prof. ten Kate’s constant support and positive and constructive criticism pushed me to improve myself and to target ambitious goals. And Dr. Sabbi, my supervisor at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, has been a very supportive and motivating influence on my work.

My present company/position: I am currently a Toohig postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. This is a great opportunity to work in collaboration with colleagues from CERN and several US laboratories involved in the High-Luminosity LHC project. In March, I will move back to CERN to work as a staff scientist.

Awards/honors: I have recieved multiple awards throughout my career, including the 2015 Toohig Fellowship, awarded by the US LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP); the 2014 and the 2015 IEEE CSC Graduate Study Fellowship in Applied Superconductivity; 2013 Best Student Paper at the Applied Superconductivity Conference; ESAS Prize awarded for the best young researcher presentation at the Eucas 2103 conference; and best Italian thesis concerning urban heating, awarded by AIRU (Italian Association of Urban Heating).

My contributions to the cryogenic field: I feel very lucky because I have always worked in very active groups, where people encourage innovation and support new ideas. With a few CERN colleagues, I invented a new magnet protection system that is more effective and robust than the alternative technology. Superconducting magnets need to be protected from overheating after a quench­—the sudden transition of the superconductor to the normal state. The new method is going to be installed in the LHC machine during its upgrade to High-Luminosity. I have also developed new modeling techniques to run fast simulations of complex electro-magnetic and thermal transients occurring in superconducting magnets. And with an LBNL colleague, I developed a new quench detection system based on stray-capacitive monitoring that is quite promising for high temperature superconductor applications.

What are the most important developments in cryogenics? I am biased towards high-field superconducting magnets—the enabling technology for high-energy colliders—since I have worked in this field for most of my career. However, the number of different cryogenic applications is truly amazing. From magnetic resonance imaging to levitation, from accelerators to supercomputing, and from electrical distribution to space, cryogenics and superconductivity are advancing and will ultimately change our lives. High temperature superconductors are not yet mature for large-scale applications, but due to their impressive characteristics they might become a game changer in several business sectors.

What advances do you hope to see in the future? I think this is an exciting time for superconductivity, and more generally for cryogenics. The high-energy physics and fusion communities are operating and building new machines based on superconducting magnets, and next-generation machines for long-term R&D are being designed. In addition, nuclear magnetic resonance continues to increase its business. Many are also turning their attention to the future development of high temperature superconductors that have remarkable physical properties. If production costs can be reduced they will have excellent application opportunities.

Where can readers find out more about your projects? I do not personally post news about my research on a website. However, American and European laboratories do an excellent job publicizing the latest projects and promoting science to people from any background. Many of them are also present on social media.

Parminder-Banga_webParminder Banga, 32
My educational and professional background: I graduated in 2007 with a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Buffalo, and was subsequently employed by Cryomech, Inc. (CSA CSM) in Syracuse NY. Since then Cryomech has been my primary learning center for low temperature physics and manufacturing, though I am currently pursuing additional professional and educational development opportunities at Cornell University.

How I got into cryogenics: As fortune would have it, Peter Gifford hired me as a mechanical engineer in 2007.

My mentor and my experience with him/her: While employed at Cryomech I have had the pleasure of learning from many exceptional individuals. Peter Gifford most heavily influenced me in both my professional and educational development in mechanical engineering and low temperature physics. He was the one who not only introduced me to the world of cryogenics, but also taught me invaluable lessons on leadership and the fundamentals of growing a business enterprise. Rich Dausman, Chao Wang and Brent Zerkle are the other remarkable individuals who have facilitated my ongoing education and professional development by immersing me in their respective fields.

My present company/position: Engineering Supervisor at Cryomech, Inc.

Awards/honors: While I have not received any awards specific to cryogenics, I have had the honor and privilege of working together with our customers for over 10 years, helping them take chances to achieve well-deserved success. I enjoy watching science documentaries or reading about breakthroughs in the scientific community and being able to see equipment that utilizes the cryorefrigerators that I helped build and qualify with our exceptional team.

My contributions to the cryogenic field: I am fortunate to be part of a cryo-refrigerator design and manufacturing team that is continuously recognized for developing world-leading cryogenic refrigeration solutions. Recent products Cryomech has launched include the PT420, the world’s first commercially available 4 K two-watt pulse tube cryorefrigerator. This product has greatly facilitated advancements in cryogen-free low temperature refrigeration apparatuses. Our relentless focus on cryorefrigerator development and customizations has allowed us to partner with industry-leading customers pursuing specialized applications in diversified fields. These fields include low temperature material studies, superconducting magnets, energy transmission, imaging and liquefying gases.

What are the most important developments in cryogenics? One of the most important developments in cryogenics is superconducting magnet technology. The advances in this field have been instrumental in developing MRIs, NMRs and other devices that have contributed to our increased knowledge and allowed for further medical and scientific advancements. We are continuously focusing on aligning our cryorefrigerator developments to provide the next best solution for the challenges presented to us.

What advances do you hope to see in the future? Any new discovery has the potential to drastically change the course of scientific history. Early indicators tell us that advances in quantum computing will lead to major scientific breakthroughs across the scientific, mathematical and medical communities. Given the growing industry-wide focus on quantum computing, I think we will start to see tangible results in the next five to 10 years.

Where can readers find out more about your projects? Cryomech’s sales and marketing team does an exceptional job of unveiling and promoting the products that Cryomech has developed. Information can be found via publications such as this one, our website,, and social media outlets such as LinkedIn.

Will-Gruber_webWill Gruber, 32
My educational and professional background: I have a BBA in marketing from the University of Cincinnati (2008) and a MBA in international business from Xavier University (2013).

I was hired as a proposal engineer for the MAG-IAS, LLC (MAG-IAS) machine tool builder in 2008. My business unit focused on providing consumables such as metalworking fluids, cutting tools and workholding. In 2010, MAG-IAS created a cryogenic machining business unit, and since then I’ve been working with this technology. In 2013, 5ME, LLC was created as a spin-out of MAG-IAS, allowing for the technology to be offered across all machine tool brands and platforms. I originally worked as a project manager, but I’ve held and been responsible for various project management, business development, technical sales and marketing functions.

How I got into cryogenics: While still part of the MAG-IAS organization, I was brought in as part of the original team assigned to the continued development and commercialization of what is now the patented 5ME® Cryogenic Machining Technology. For the past eight years, I’ve worked with this technology, which focuses on the ability to efficiently deliver liquid nitrogen through a machine tool, through the machine’s spindle/turret/ram, and internally into the cutting tool as a means to optimize performance, part quality and sustainability.

My mentor and my experience with him/her: Specific to cryogenics, I would name two people. I’ve worked with Mike Judge, the executive VP at 5ME, for my entire career. He has been instrumental in my development as a business professional, including my understanding of selling and presenting new technologies. I’ve also worked closely with George Georgiou, the company’s lead cryogenic engineer. He has been instrumental in my understanding of both general cryogenics and cryogenic machining of various material types.

What is your present company/position? Manager of Marketing and Channel Sales, Cryogenics at 5ME, LLC

– MAG-IAS Future Leader (2011)

My contributions to the cryogenic field: Since 2013, I’ve worked on behalf of 5ME to change perceptions and help usher in an era of acceptance for cryogenic machining, collaborating with government agencies, non-profit organizations, universities and for-profit companies. The sophistication and robustness of 5ME’s design has allowed for the widespread adoption and acceptance of cryogenics as not just a replacement for conventional processes utilizing metalworking fluids but rather an optimized methodology.

What are the most important developments in cryogenics? In the manufacturing industry, the development and expansion of cryogenic machining solutions for additional (exotic) materials is the most important next step in expanding the technology. Additionally, cryogenic machining technology allows for the ability to efficiently and effectively manufacture new materials not previously introduced. By working to understand the limitations and pain points of today’s manufacturers, 5ME is constantly expanding to meet the needs of the industry.

What advances do you hope to see in the future? I would like to see cryogenic machining become commonplace in the manufacturing industry. By removing metalworking fluids and introducing a green, energy-efficient machining process, manufacturers will be able to move forward on creating products not feasible with today’s limitations while simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint. This win-win scenario of expanding production capabilities, reducing part costs, and increasing sustainability is a must to advance manufacturing for future generations. Cryogenic machining was introduced over 50 years ago but has progressed exponentially in recent years, and current global demand suggests that worldwide adoption will happen sooner rather than later.

Where can readers find out more about your projects? Readers can follow me on LinkedIn at 5ME, LLC has a robust online presence, including its website at and social profiles on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.