26 Apr 2018




Cryogenics is the branch of engineering that involve the study of very low temperatures: how to produce them, and how materials behave at those temperatures

Close-up of Rutherford Cable for Superconducting Magnets

​​​​​​​​Superconducting Rutherford Cables

This image shows the internal pipework for the Hydrogen cryostat. A cryocooler is in the centre of the top plate which sits at room temperature. Below the plate, inside the cryostat, is the pipework carrying Hydrogen gas to the cold tip of the cryocooler – here it is liquefied and collected in a small cylindrical vessel which can be seen at the bottom of the image. There is some further pipework leading downwards through which the liquid Hydrogen would travel to the Hydrogen Absorber and any evaporated Hydrogen gas can return from the absorber to the tank to be re-liquefied.

Internal pipework for the MICE Hydrogen cryostat

Cryogenics lie behind myriad of applications from food to healthcare, energy, science and space. The Cryogenics Impact Report (2015) from WECD consider​s that cryogenic-related economic activities could contribute between £1.6 billion and £3.3 billion to the UK economy in the next 10 years, with STFC, its university partners and industry all being key players in delivering this growth.  Read the full report ​

STFC Technology's expertise in this area is world-leading. We design and produce innovative mission-critical cooling systems for many scientific endeavours on Earth and in space. We work on cooling for instruments on the Large Hadron Collider, and created the most successful closed-cycle cryocoolers ever flown in space, such as that used on the Planck Space Observatory. We have invented basic cryogenic technology components now used as standards worldwide, such as the multifilament superconducting cable known as “Rutherford Cable​”. As well as one-off assemblies for individual instruments, we have also produced more than seventy of some units such as the ALMA cryostats for the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world.​

Although our work is often hidden, it is ground-breaking​ enabling technology that cannot be ‘bought off the shelf’, and without which the experiments and observations could not be made.​

Contact: Cryogenics and Magnetics Group
Martin Crook
Tel: 01235 445146​