There is a large variety of applications in the field of Research that need to be cryogenically cooled. Many of these are complex instruments related to physics, nuclear physics and biology. In Biology our StirLIN liquid nitrogen production systems are used to guarantee cold storage of samples.
Some examples of Research in Biology
- Virus Institutes: collecting and studying viruses, for instance in remote places in Africa.
- Artificial Insemination: improving cattle but also horse and dog breeds.
- Human medicine: immunology, oncology and genetics
- Oceanographic Research Vessels: on these vessels often liquid nitrogen is needed to store samples which are taken from the ocean or ocean floor. In order to avoid storage of large quantities LN2 during long voyages, this LN2 can be produced on-board with a StirLIN system.
Research instruments and detectors in physics tend to be large facilities in need of dedicated cryogenic cooling systems. Stirling Cryogenics will design such system based on the application needs. These custom design systems will include our own Stirling Cryogenerators and CryoZone CryoFans, integrated with other components such as vessels, valves and measuring equipment to supply an integrated total cooling system. Many of the Research applications are unique in set-up and hence also our cooling systems.
- Nuclear Physics: cooling of neutron fluxes. Goal is to achieve slower neutrons, enabling enlarged interaction with materials and hence better output of the instruments. Stirling Cryogenerators are used to re-liquefy methane and hydrogen as cold moderator.
- Cooling of laser amplifiers: the crystals used in these devices become efficient at temperatures around 80K. To avoid optical pollution, a flow of helium gas is circulated through the crystals. Circulation is done by our CryoFans and cooling is done by our Stirling Cryogenerators.
- Liquid argon neutrino detectors: a large bath of high purity argon is used to ‘catch’ neutrinos, colliding occasionally with an argon nucleus creating a photon which is detected. Given the high purity of the LAr, the remote underground site and the cost of argon, the LAr must be protected from boiling off. Stirling Cryogenics has supplied systems to indirectly cool the LAr bath with a closed liquid nitrogen loop.
- Measurement of radioactivity: these detectors are used to detect radioactivity in areas like Chernobyl and the Polynesian Islands. They need to be cooled with LN2 to function, for which a StirLIN system is used as a local production facility.
- Shielding of low temperature devices: in physics, many devices are cooled at LHe temperatures. To protect these from incoming heat, they are shielded to adsorb this heat before it reaches the actual cold instrument such as LTS magnets. These shield are cooled with helium gas around 20K using CryoFans and at 80K with LN2. In both cases Stirling Cryogenerators are used for the cooling of these flows.
- In Space Propulsion new kinds of motors like ion flux drives are being developed. These are tested in vacuum chambers and need cooling power for heat shielding and for cryopumping the vacuum.