Lancaster Team Tests LEGO® as Superior Sub-Kelvin Insulator

The Ultra Low Temperature Physics Group at Lancaster University in the UK has achieved the record for coldest LEGOs in the universe by cooling the plastic toys to 4 mK in early December. Dr. Dmitry Zmeev and PhD student Joshua Chawner tested the properties of four LEGO blocks and a LEGO character using Lancaster’s dilution refrigerator, the world’s best performing dilution refrigerator. The results have promising implications for thermal insulation, especially in the construction of quantum computers.

Argonne Upgrades Enable Next-Generation Experiments

Building 203 looks unassuming, but behind—and beneath—its brick exterior, researchers are performing advanced experiments and developing support systems to answer some of physics’ biggest questions. In January, Cold Facts toured the physics building at Argonne National Laboratory (CSA CSM) in Lemont IL to learn more about the ongoing upgrades from the people helping to make them happen.

Clean Energy Future: The Future is Getting Colder

From the developments in cryogenic applications over the last 20 years, we can see that the world in its technological workings is getting colder. But really, the world has been getting colder for the last 150 years as advancements in mastering cold have made steady progress. Liquid air for energy storage on power grids; liquid nitrogen for superconducting power cables, electrical generators and food processing; liquid hydrogen for electrical power generation in vehicles, rocket fuel in space transportation, storage of renewable energy sources and fusion energy research; and liquid helium for medical imaging, electronics manufacturing and scientific research are but a few examples of a cleaner, safer and more progressive world extending to more and more people.

Introducing Cool Fuel: Fueling Cryogenics for the 21st Century!

There’s no shortage of cool project areas in cryogenics these days: space, quantum computing, fusion energy, clean energy and clean transport, to name a few. These are the fields that aspiring new engineers want to work in when they pass through my office. The irony is that our cool field is suddenly hot; so much so that I’m going to call our field vogue—literally. Go to any mall and you’ll see shirts sporting the NASA logo in the front windows of the trendiest shops. However, ask any of these aspiring youth about cryogenics and you’ll get a blank stare. They often confuse cryogenics with cryonics (frozen bodies). They haven’t realized that cryogenics is the skill set allowing them to work in any of these fields.

Cryogenic Industrial Gas to Play Major Role in Alternative Clean Energy

While industrial gases and cryogenics have touched nearly every sector and industrial market for decades, the global push towards alternative clean energy technology is pushing cryogenics more rapidly than ever before. As part of this push, Circor (CSA CSM) is setting new standards for a hydrogen energy world. New technologies and resources have provided significant reductions in equipment cost, as well as enhanced safety, and improved efficiencies and performance. These are all signs that liquified natural gas/compressed natural gas and liquid hydrogen can play an important role as viable alternative energy resources for decades to come.

It’s Chilly Here: Lowest Temperature at Fermilab Reached in Equipment for Dark Matter Experiment

When Fermilab (CSA CSM) scientists Matt Hollister and Dan Bauer make the journey this summer to install the new SuperCDMS dilution refrigerator at SNOLAB near Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, this development will have been made possible by a milestone reached in late October. Fermilab SuperCDMS scientists cooled their dilution refrigerator down to 5.3 millikelvins, only a few thousandths of a kelvin above absolute zero. SuperCDMS SNOLAB will be approximately 50 times more sensitive to low mass dark matter particles than its previous iteration, which took data 700 meters underground at Soudan Underground Laboratory in northern Minnesota.

Saving Breaths: The Literal Air Power

When any of Cannon Air Force Base’s aircraft leave the base located just outside Clovis NM, members of the 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron (SOLRS) cryogenics team make sure that, should anything go wrong, the pilots and crew can breathe easy… literally. The cryogenics team provides the liquid oxygen that fills Cannon aircraft’s respiratory support systems. When an aircraft goes to high altitudes or is in a perilous situation, the pilots and crew can trust that the supply of air they breathe will continue to fill their lungs with pure oxygen.

Quantum Fluctuations Sustain Record Superconductor

Calculations performed by an international team of Materials Physics Center researchers representing Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Japan show that the crystal structure of the record superconducting LaH10 compound is stabilized by atomic quantum fluctuations. This result suggests that superconductivity approaching room temperature may be possible in hydrogen-rich compounds at much lower pressures than previously expected with classical calculations.

Indian Railways to Inaugurate Hydrogen Powered Train

India Railways is developing a hydrogen powered suburban train and has floated an official expression of interest for industry participation. The move is part of the railway’s efforts at greening its fuel use. Indian Railways has already fitted solar panels on rooftops of diesel electric multiple unit trains of 4.5 kilowatt capacities for catering to hotel load.

Cryomech’s Banner Year in Review

2019 has proven to be a banner year for Cryomech (CSA CSM). The company celebrated many business achievements, made unique innovations, and participated in events in the local community. They experienced their largest ever order intake in one month, shipped the largest single order in company history, shipped the most crates in a single week span and now have a record number of 135 employees.

What a Pair: Coupled Quantum Dots May Offer a New Way to Store Quantum Information

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have for the first time created and imaged a novel pair of quantum dots—tiny islands of confined electric charge that act like interacting artificial atoms. Such “coupled” quantum dots could serve as a robust quantum bit, or qubit, the fundamental unit of information for a quantum computer. Moreover, the patterns of electric charge in the island can’t be fully explained by current models of quantum physics, offering an opportunity to investigate rich new physical phenomena in materials.