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.
Jordan Raymond, 23
My educational and professional background: I completed my BS in mechanical engineering from Washington State University (WSU) in May 2019 and I am currently pursuing my MS from WSU, also in mechanical engineering. I have been working in the Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Lab at WSU with Dr. Jacob Leachman for three years.
How I got into cryogenics: In my junior year of college, I tried to join a club that Dr. Leachman was running that focused on sustainable energy. Instead, I was offered a position in the Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Lab. I knew nothing about cryogenics and made the common assumption that it involved freezing people. I was given a project that had just been conceived and went on to complete a theoretical proof of concept before designing, building and running the system with the assistance of one of the graduate students, Carl Bunge. The goal of my work was to develop a novel method of oxygen separation, and the technique proved to be successful. From there I was offered a position as a graduate student and I am now optimizing a heat exchanger for a hydrogen liquefier, while taking into consideration the ortho-para conversion.
My mentor and my experience with them: My mentor is Dr. Jacob Leachman. I originally met him during my sophomore year of college as my thermodynamics professor and I joined his lab a few months later. Jake encourages independence and self-initiative, which leads to a lot of personal growth. He expects a lot from his students, but his expectations are not unreasonable. There’s a very steep learning curve, but Jake encourages students to pepper him with questions, so the climb is manageable. He’s very open to design discussions and often has invaluable insights. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in his lab and I’m looking forward to working with him in the future.
My present company/position: I am currently working on a military contract to develop a liquid hydrogen fueling station for drones. I am optimizing a heat exchanger attached to a cryocooler within the liquefaction dewar and monitoring the temperature and pressure profiles along the heat exchanger, as well as the ortho-para conversion of the hydrogen. The completion of this project will result in a portable, compact fueling station that can supply hydrogen to previously unreachable areas.
My contributions to the cryogenic field: Air distillation columns are often gravity-based, and to separate molecules with similar molecular weights, such as nitrogen and oxygen, the columns can be over 20-feet tall resulting in massive capital investments. As an undergraduate student, I researched a novel method of oxygen separation that used a vortex tube and took advantage of the paramagnetic qualities of liquid oxygen. Using calibrated air with an oxygen concentration of about 21% as the inlet gas, I was able to achieve an outlet concentration of about 42%. This technology could also be used for in situ oxygen collection on spacecraft, as well as portable oxygen tanks for medical use. I presented the work at the Cryogenic Engineering Conference in 2019, published a conference paper and am patenting the technology.
What are the most important developments in cryogenics? I believe the most important developments are occurring in the hydrogen sector and are helping to improve efficiencies and lower associated costs. Much of the technology has not undergone any serious redesign for decades but, with the emergence of new technologies, they’re beginning to evolve. I have tailored my work to this area and am currently working on a project that has the potential to raise efficiencies and increase accessibility of hydrogen fuels, hopefully making them a more feasible energy option.
What advances do you hope to see in the future? The biggest advance that I hope to see is mindful energy management, and I think that hydrogen systems will play a large role in this future. I’m waiting to see a greater shift towards renewables in a way that is mindful of the geography. For instance, it makes more sense to put windmills in the Midwest where tornadoes are common rather than pursuing hydropower. I also want to see hydrogen technology emerge that can be used for energy storage in conjunction with current technology. I think that it will take at least 20 years for this to happen because funding in this area is just beginning to increase, and the public has a strong fear of hydrogen.
Where can readers find out more about your projects? My lab’s website URL is https://hydrogen.wsu.edu and it contains project summaries of past and present work, as well as member bios. I can also be found online at www.linkedin.com/in/jordan-raymond1996.
Andrew May, 27
My educational and professional background: I received my MEng in aerospace engineering in 2015, MSc in astronomy and astrophysics in 2016 and PhD in astrophysics in 2019 all at the University of Manchester.
How I got into cryogenics: By accident! I was in the third year of my undergraduate degree and looking for internships, ideally in a research environment, when I stumbled upon a position being advertised with Shrikant Pattalwar at Daresbury. It was a 12-month position working on the ALICE linac at Daresbury and the HiLumi-LHC crab cavity cryomodule at CERN. I applied and was offered the job. I had a fantastic year and after I finished my MEng, I decided to undertake a PhD on sub-Kelvin systems for cosmic microwave background receivers with Lucio Piccirillo. As I was finishing my PhD, a permanent position at Daresbury opened up which I was fortunate enough to get.
My mentor and my experience with them: A lot of people have gone out of their way to help me in all manner of ways, but I’ve had two especially great mentors: Shrikant Pattalwar, who I did my placement year with and I now work for at Daresbury, and Lucio Piccirillo, who was my PhD supervisor. Both have been incredibly supportive of my development as a scientist and engineer, afforded me a lot of responsibility and given me the opportunity to contribute to some world-class projects. I really hope to be able to pay it forward in the future!
My present company/position: I am a cryogenics engineer in the RF and Cryogenics Group of the Accelerator Science and Technology Centre at the Science and Technologies Facility Council (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory.
My contributions to the cryogenic field: I’ve worked on a range of projects that fall broadly into two areas: large-scale cryogenics for superconducting accelerators and ultra low temperature systems for astronomical detectors. In both, I’ve been able to be a part of a number of large international collaborations, which I’ve really enjoyed. For my PhD, I was responsible for the development of key subsystems for several cosmic microwave background polarization observatories. The superconducting detectors at the heart of these receivers operate at a few hundred mK, so helium-4 and helium-3 sorption coolers and miniature dilution systems are used, along with a range of heat switch technologies and novel thermal architectures. Since returning to Daresbury, my primary responsibility has been the cryogenic systems that form part of the new Vertical Test Facility that we’ve developed for testing the high beta SRF cavities for the European Spallation Source. I’m also starting to work on HiLumi-LHC again, along with preparation work for the UK’s contribution to the PIP-II project at Fermilab.
What are the most important developments in cryogenics? I’ve always been hugely excited by “big science”; projects like ITER, ESS, HiLumi-LHC and PIP-II/DUNE are all enabled by cryogenics and superconductivity at a fundamental level. The increased capacity and efficiency of cryogenic plants has been a key technology in supporting these and many other projects. For smaller scale systems, the massive and continuing improvements in mechanical cryocooler technologies have been invaluable in allowing operation without the need for liquid cryogens.
What advances do you hope to see in the future? DEMO, the planned successor to ITER, is probably the thing I’m most excited to see in the long term. If it can be demonstrated that fusion power is viable as a significant contributor to the grid, it would be completely transformative.
Where can readers find out more about your projects? If you want to read any of my papers you can find me on ResearchGate at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrew_May8. You can also subscribe to the STFC newsletter here: https://stfc.ukri.org/news-events-and-publications/publications/subscribe-to-fascination/ or follow Daresbury Lab on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/DaresburyLab
Lingxue Jin, 31
My educational and professional background: I received a BS from Dalian University of Technology in 2012 and an MS and PhD from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2014 and 2019, respectively.
How I got into cryogenics: During my undergraduate studies, I majored in refrigeration and low temperature engineering. Since then, I have been advised and inspired by Professor Sangkwon Jeong to study cryogenic engineering.
My mentor and my experience with them: My mentor is Professor Sangkwon Jeong, who also happens to be my supervisor at KAIST. We have worked together for seven years. He is an empathetic leader with a clear mission and a strong sense of responsibility. Not only is he a professor with a wealth of knowledge and experience in cryogenic engineering, but he is also a great mentor who encourages students when they are in tough situations.
My present company/position: As a postdoc in the Mechanical Research Institute at KAIST, I am currently in charge of research on cryogenic line chilldown. My main job is to establish the heat transfer correlations and the numerical simulation model for the cryogenic line chilldown process. Our team also conducted chilldown experiments with various cryogenic fluids like LN2, liquid argon and LOX.
My contributions to the cryogenic field: I focused on heat transfer characteristics in the cryogenic line chilldown process during my PhD studies and designed line chilldown experiments with various cryogenic fluids, which expanded known databases. These are still used to obtain accurate heat transfer correlations suitable for pipe quenching. I have also published 14 science citation index journal papers and presented my research results at many international conferences. I was lucky to also be involved in research projects to investigate the effective thermal insulation method for cryogenic liquid storage tanks, to examine the heat transfer characteristics of cryogenic liquids during the chilldown process and to design high efficiency refrigeration systems.
What are the most important developments in cryogenics? I believe the most important developments are the techniques for using cryogenic liquid fuels to address energy and environmental issues. We need to manage cryogenic liquids for long-term storage and transport and build high efficiency, large-scale cryogenic systems and support facilities.
What advances do you hope to see in the future? I hope that the hydrogen economy can be successfully created within 10 years. I believe extensive use of hydrogen fuel as an alternative energy source for traditional chemical energy is imperative; however, one of the biggest challenges is the high cost associated with creating and maintaining a cryogenic environment. In the next 10 years, we may be able to see high efficiency, large-scale cryocoolers with sufficient infrastructure to support the hydrogen economy.
Where can readers find out more about your projects? Most of my publications can be found at www.researchgate.net/profile/Lingxue_Jin and I am available at email@example.com.
Amir E. Jahromi, 34
My educational and professional background: I received my BSc in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico in 2008 and went on to get both my MSc and PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2011 and 2015, respectively. My PhD also includes physics.
How I got into cryogenics: Early as an undergraduate student, I was fascinated with thermodynamics and heat transfer. My undergraduate advisor, Professor Arsalan Razani at the University of New Mexico, introduced me to cryogenics in 2007. My involvement grew significantly when I entered graduate school and conducted graduate research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison by way of my recruiter, Professor Sandy Klein.
My mentor and my experience with them: At the University of Wisconsin, Madison I had two amazing mentors, Professors Franklin Miller and Greg Nellis, who both taught me so much of what I know now in cryogenics. At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, I had Dr. Jim Tuttle as my primary mentor. I have learnt so much and absolutely love working with Jim!
My present company/position: I am a civil servant aerospace engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
My contributions to the cryogenics field: I developed a non-moving part superfluid magnetic pump proof-of-concept that can either compress or circulate sub-lambda liquid helium in a closed system for use in a heat exchange circulator and various types of sub-Kelvin refrigeration systems like the active magnetic regenerative refrigerator, superfluid pulse tube refrigerator and the cold cycle dilution refrigerator. This work opened up many possibilities for novel systems at low temperatures.
I have also assisted with various tests conducted for the James Webb Space Telescope and I am mainly involved in the development of a flight-worthy continuous adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator cooling at 50 mK that can reject heat to a thermal sink at 10 K.
What are the most important developments in cryogenics? From my perspective, the most important development in cryogenics is adiabatic demagnetization refrigeration. Specifically, the continuous system that was first developed by my colleague Dr. Peter Shirron, and further developed by my other colleague Mark Kimball. I am fascinated and extremely intrigued by these ultra compact, elegant and high efficiency systems. To me they are truly majestic!
What advances do you hope to see in the future? I am very eager to see much needed developments in the field of superconducting-based quantum computers—specifically low temperature devices—and refrigeration systems that can address the need of high cooling powers at very low temperatures. I hope to see a superconducting-based quantum computer that can effectively use 1,000s of qubits for parallel processing. I think this will take another 20 to 30 years to come to full fruition.
Where can readers find out more about your projects? You can search through my work on Google Scholar.
Shreyas Balachandran, 36
My educational and professional background: I have a PhD in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University.
How I got into cryogenics: I developed a particular interest in metals during my high school years. When I decided to apply to graduate school, I was naturally inclined to metal processing. Ted Hartwig had been developing a very interesting metal processing technique called Equal Channel Angular Extrusion at Texas A&M. I got involved with the physical metallurgy of niobium, tantalum and other materials that are used in superconducting magnets and accelerators. Since my early years in graduate school I have been attending the International Cryogenic Materials Conference and Applied Superconductivity Conference. These two conferences and the people I have interacted with at meetings have helped me appreciate cryogenic systems, measurement techniques and materials.
My mentor and my experience with them: I consider myself fortunate to have mentors who have shaped my life for the better, both personally and professionally. Ted Hartwig has not only been a great teacher, but has been instrumental in my development as a person.
Since I joined the Applied Superconductivity Center, I have been fortunate to work with David Larbalestier, Peter Lee and Lance Cooley—all of whom I also consider mentors. Peter and David have helped me to rethink problems as opportunities, with a particular emphasis on the big picture question, “So what?”
I have known Lance since my days in graduate school. Not only has he been encouraging, but more importantly, he has provided honest feedback to help me better myself.
My present company/postion: I work as visiting research faculty at the Applied Superconductivity Center (ASC), part of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (CSA CSM). Since joining ASC, I have been involved in research related to microstructure property relationships in superconducting and structural cryogenic materials.
My contributions to the cryogenic field: I help in the development of additional pinning centers in Nb3Sn using ternary Nb-Ta-Hf alloys for high field magnet applications. I have also headed the development of Nb3Sn-APC conductors at ASC as part of the US-Magnet Development Program, which is supported by CERN. We have demonstrated that high Jc (4.2 K, 16T) beyond 1600 A/mm2 are possible in internal tin conductors with the addition of Hf to a binary Nb-Ta alloy.
The key focus of our work is to maintain high irreversibility fields, while increasing the vortex pinning behavior in Nb3Sn by refining the grain size and developing precipitates.
My work on SRF Nb coupon studies in high gradient, low loss superconducting linear accelerators has focused on the role of dislocation boundaries and substructures on the local degradation of superconducting behavior in Nb.
What are the most important developments in cryogenics? In my opinion, the development of cryocoolers that enable temperatures of less than 5 K has been very impactful. It has opened up new areas of technological development like mobile accelerators.
The development of high temperature superconductor technology into magnet technology is also very exciting. I have been following the production of REBCO and Bi-2212 conductors closely, especially their use in high field magnets. One of the issues that could limit this conductor technology is conductor strength. A part of my research focuses on developing high strength conductors.
What advances do you hope to see in the future? I would like to see the development of small compact linear accelerators for proton therapy. This would reduce costs and make it more accessible to a larger number of people. Thanks to developments in SRF and cryocooler technologies, this could happen in the next 10 or 15 years.
Hopefully ITER will lead to the large-scale development of fusion energy in the very near future. It will be fascinating to see if fusion reactors can be reduced in size. While the development of high temperature superconducting magnets is a milestone, research on high temperature materials is key to developing these devices. Compact fusion devices could appear within 50 years and could be a potential energy source for planetary colonization.
Where can readers find out more about your projects? You can find more about my work from the MagLab page: http://2csa.us/ja. You can also find me on the Google scholar website: http://2csa.us/j8 ■