This graduate level course covers fundamental aspects of cryogenics systems and engineering
properties of materials and fluids at low temperatures, cryogenic heat transfer and
fluid dynamics, and low temperature refrigeration systems. Special focus will be on
the physics and engineering aspects of liquid helium, ultra-pure liquid argon, and
sub-Kelvin systems and their application in the cooling of contemporary particle accelerators,
detectors, and sensors.
The course is intended for graduate students pursuing accelerator physics as well
as graduate engineers and physicists who want to familiarize themselves with cryogenics.
The course will begin with an introduction to cryogenics, including a brief history
of the low temperature field and temperature measurement. The properties of materials
at cryogenic temperatures and cryogenic fluids will then be discussed. Achieving cryogenic
temperatures will be described, with particular emphasis on liquefaction and closed
cycle refrigeration, followed by discussion of fluid and superfluid properties of
helium. The discussion of refrigeration technologies will be extended below 1 Kelvin
with the introduction of Helium-3 cryogenics and the dilution refrigerator, among
other techniques. The concept of Argon purification to parts per trillion levels to
enable very high purity neutrino experiments is also introduced. Finally, the related
fields of cryogenic instrumentation and cryogenic safety will be presented.
Upon completion of this course, students are expected to understand the physics behavior
of systems and materials operating at cryogenic temperatures, and the technologies
used to achieve and maintain temperatures at and below that of liquid helium. The
aim is to provide students with ideas and approaches that enable them to evaluate
and solve problems related to the application of cryogenic technologies to particle
accelerators and quantum technologies.
Main Texts and suggested materials
It is recommended that students re-familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of
While all necessary material will be provided during lectures, we recommend the following
textbook for in-depth study of the subject:
- K. Timmerhaus and T. Flynn,
Cryogenic Process Engineering, Plenum (1989).
Additional suggested reference books:
- F. Pobell,
Matter and Methods at Low Temperatures, Third Edition, Springer (2007).
- S. W. Van Sciver,
Helium Cryogenics, Second Edition, Springer (2012).
- J. W. Ekin,
Experimental Techniques for Low Temperature Measurements, Oxford (2006).
This course includes a series of lectures and exercise sessions. Homework problems
will be assigned. Homework will be graded, and answers provided in the exercise sessions.
There will be a final exam at the conclusion of the course.
Students will be evaluated based on the following performance criteria: final exam
(50%), homework assignments and class participation (50%).
HW1] Due at 4:30pm on September 9, 2021
HW2] Due at 4:30pm on September 23, 2021
HW3] Due at 4:30pm on October 14, 2021
HW4] Due at 4:30pm on November 4, 2021
HW5] Due at 4:30pm on November 24, 2021
Homework review sessions
Final Exam] due December 16