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Qubit Measurement Systems Right Out of the Box?

Figure 1: Recent developments enabling quantum technological applications at millikelvin temperatures, a) Cryogenic variable-temperature noise source, b) Bluefors IR filter, c) High-density wiring in an XLDsl dilution refrigerator measurement system. Credit: BlueforsNecessity of mK-Cryogenics-During the past years, advances in both lithography and millikelvin cryogenics have supported and enabled vast improvement in the sophistication of experimental research on electrical circuits that display uniquely quantum mechanical behavior. It comes as no surprise that dilution refrigerator measurement systems have moved beyond basic physics research contraptions, and into central focus in the new era of quantum engineering. Achieving millikelvin temperatures remains a prerequisite for many of the leading hardware candidates for quantum computing with solid-state devices. For example, superconducting quantum circuits need temperatures low enough to keep microwave thermal photon populations on the chip negligible. In addition, the amplifiers that are typically required to achieve high-fidelity dispersive readouts are also based on superconductors and operate at the lowest noise temperatures allowed by physical limits.

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The Development of an AMRR for Sub-Kelvin Cooling of Space Science Instrumentation - ICC21 Best Student Paper Award Recipient

Figure 1. A diagram of the AMRR system. Credit: University of Wisconsin-MadisonIntroduction-Cryogenic detectors have higher sensitivity and better energy resolution than alternative sensors, making them an attractive option for space exploration and essential for observing low energy photons in the near- or far-IR, X-ray and submillimeter ranges.[1] Since NASA’s first cryogenic missions in the early 1980s, increasingly complex space detectors have required continuous advancement in cryogenic technology.[2]

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Back to the Future: Combining Hydrogen Hybrid Technology and Enhancing Solar & Wind

The Dylan Energy SystemThe first time I saw the first prototype of the Dylan Energy system, I thought of old Doc Brown and Back to the Future. Remember them? Doc invented something called the ‘Flux Capacitor.ʼ With the Dylan Energy system and our partners, we are capable of consuming 400 tons daily of municipal solid waste (MSW), commonly referred to as landfills, and producing 576 mW of electricity during a 24-hour period of time. This includes medical/drugs/sharpies; municipal and urban waste; industrial, pesticides and their containers; biomass; animal housing; coal; ashes from incinerators; sewage; galvanic sludge; organic sludge from petrochemical; materials with low radioactivity; used oils; batteries; tires; waste of explosive material; hazardous industrial waste; and plastics (with no restrictions).

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New Green Storage System Offers Renewable Energy On-Demand

Image: UCF inventors (left to right) Jayanta Kapat, Marcel Otto and Ladislav Vesely are shown next to a prototype demo of the cryogenic flux capacitor used in the invention. Photo credit: Karen Norum, UCFBack to the Future movie fans may remember the term “flux capacitor” as a fictional device that allows for time travel. That device still doesn’t exist, but a University of Central Florida storage technology does use a different type of flux capacitor developed by NASA. While trying to find a way to store renewable energy (like solar and wind) and then use it when needed, UCF Pegasus Professor Jayanta Kapat and researchers Marcel Otto and Ladislav Vesely found that NASA’s Cryogenic Flux Capacitor (CFC) could be part of the solution.

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Commonwealth Fusion Systems Opens Fusion Energy Campus on the Fastest Path to Bring Clean Fusion Energy to the World

Image courtesy of CommonwealthCommonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) officially opened its new campus to support the development and deployment of commercial fusion energy. The ceremonial event included visits from U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator Edward Markey, U.S. Representative Lori Trahan, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, along with a host of state and local leaders.

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Honeywell’s Fuel Cell Powertrain Project Comes Alive

NEWBORN launch event. Credit: Source: Honeywell AerospaceHoneywell Aerospace is confident that an EU-funded consortium it is leading can deliver a “commercially viable” high-power fuel cell powertrain for regional aircraft applications. Ground tests of the entire 1MW propulsion system – including an electric motor – will be performed in 2026 under the Clean Aviation-backed Newborn project. Although the system will only be taken to technology readiness level (TRL) 4 – or TRL5 for most components – Ondrej Kotaba, principal scientist at Honeywell Aerospace, insists the program is focused on eventual commercial applications.

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Oxygen Diffuser Project Underway in Kentucky

Oxygen diffuser project KentuckyThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is executing a sustainability project funded by the Section 212 Program to install an upstream diffuser system at Wolf Creek on the Cumberland River in Jamestown, Kentucky. The district is partnering with power preference customers, the Southeastern Power Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority to construct a cryogenic facility downstream of the dam and install 50,000 linear feet of oxygen diffuser lines that reach into Lake Cumberland.

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The Moon is Too Hot and Too Cold; Now It Could Be Just Right

With temperatures on the moon ranging from -410° to a scorching 250° F, it’s an understatement to say that humans will need habitats with heat and air conditioning to survive there long term. But heating and cooling systems won’t be effective enough to support habitats for lunar exploration or even longer trips to Mars without an understanding of what reduced gravity does to boiling and condensation. Engineers haven’t been able to crack this science – until now. “Every refrigerator, every air conditioning system we have on Earth involves boiling and condensation. Those same mechanisms are also prevalent in numerous other applications, including steam power plants, nuclear reactors and both chemical and pharmaceutical industries,” said Issam Mudawar, Purdue University’s Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “We have developed over a hundred years’ worth of understanding of how these systems work in Earth’s gravity, but we haven’t known how they work in weightlessness.” A team of engineers at Purdue led by Mudawar, who is collaborating with NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, has spent 11 years developing a facility to investigate these phenomena. The facility is called the Flow Boiling and Condensation Experiment (FBCE). Initial designs were tested on Zero Gravity Corporation’s (Zero-G) weightless research lab, a specially modified Boeing 727 that flies parabolic maneuvers to create the reduced gravities on the moon and Mars as well as the weightless conditions in space. Following in-flight testing, NASA Glenn and the agency’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division assisted Mudawar’s team in creating a smaller version of the experiment to fit into the Fluids Integrated Rack on the International Space Station. After passing NASA safety and readiness reviews, FBCE launched to the space station in August 2021 and has since helped researchers to begin to unlock the mystery of how boiling and condensation work in the extreme environments of space. These answers are in data the team is collecting from two sets of FBCE experiments taking place on the station. Last July, the facility’s first experiment finished gathering all the data that Mudawar says scientists need to understand how reduced gravity affects boiling. In the coming months, the equipment for the second experiment will launch to the orbiting laboratory as part of a Northrop Grumman commercial resupply services mission for NASA (NG-19) to gather data on how condensation happens in a reduced gravity environment. Both experiments making up the facility will remain in orbit through 2025, allowing the fluid physics community at large to take advantage of this data. “We are ready to literally close the book on the whole science of flow and boiling in reduced gravity,” Mudawar said. “Astronauts on the moon will need air conditioning systems, refrigeration systems and many other systems that all require boiling and condensation. Because of the new understanding we’ve received from data showing how these phenomena are influenced by reduced gravity, we are able to provide guidance into how to size the equipment, how to design it effectively and how to predict its performance.”   The researchers are preparing a series of research papers unpacking data the FBCE has collected on the International Space Station, adding to more than 60 papers they have published on weightlessness and fluid flow since testing their facility on Zero-G flights at the beginning of the project. Answering decades-old questions - “The papers we have published over the duration of this project are really almost like a textbook for how to use boiling and condensation in space,” Mudawar said. “For more than 60 years, since the beginning of spaceflight, the field has known that boiling and condensation would be ideal for space, but previous attempts to study these concepts in microgravity hadn’t been successful.” Each decade the National Academies publishes a report that guides NASA, the White House and Congress on areas of research to prioritize for funding over the next 10 years. In the 2011 report, numerous scientists recommended that the role of gravity in controlling vapor-fluid behavior be considered as one of those priorities for space exploration. The FBCE project was created in response to the decadal report. The farther missions are from Earth, the more likely that the spacecraft for those missions will need nuclear power. Compared to other types of processes that enable heating and cooling in space, boiling and condensation are much more effective at transferring heat for these nuclear-powered vehicles and habitats. Boiling and condensation would also allow heat, ventilation and air conditioning systems to be more compact and lightweight. Since the 1970s, Mudawar has been working to make it possible to use boiling and condensation to tackle energy transfer and temperature control challenges for a wide range of systems. Examples include high-temperature turbine systems, supercomputers, data centers, avionics, hybrid vehicle power electronics, hydrogen fuel cells, metal alloy heat treating, particle accelerators and fusion reactors. The largest experiments of their kind - According to Mudawar, FBCE is the first set of experiments to provide data that is extensive and systematic enough for developing the models engineers need to design all sorts of space systems using boiling and condensation in reduced gravity. “We now have a basis for comparing and contrasting data for both Earth gravity and reduced gravity in pursuit of modeling tools that can be applicable to a broad range of gravities,” Mudawar said.  Mudawar and his students have been developing three sets of predictive tools over the past 11 years based on FBCE data. One set of tools puts the data into the form of equations that engineers can use to design space systems. Another set identifies fundamental information about fluid physics from the data, and the third set is computational models of the fluid dynamics.  All together, these models would make it possible to predict which equipment designs could operate in lunar and Martian gravity. FBCE is NASA’s largest and most complex experiment for fluid physics research. Between February and July last year, the facility successfully conducted 234 tests, yielding nearly 3,800 data points and an equal number of high-speed video records. More than 35 engineers and technicians from different teams across NASA Glenn have worked on this project, helping turn design concepts from Mudawar and his students into a facility that could be installed into the space station. These teams included Glenn’s FBCE Engineering, Safety and Mission Assurance, Science, Software, and Technician teams, and Fluids and Combustion Facility Operations teams. Fifteen past and current Purdue PhD students have assisted Mudawar on all aspects of collaborative work with NASA. Two Purdue doctoral candidates, V.S. Devahdhanush and Steven Darges, assisted in monitoring the experiments on the space station via a dedicated workstation set up at Purdue. The Purdue team also provided recommendations for refinement of operating conditions for subsequent tests to continuously improve science yield per test. Data from the FBCE would benefit not only space systems, but also technology on Earth. Using lessons they learned about boiling from this data, Mudawar and his team invented a new charging cable design for electric vehicles that would allow them to charge in less than five minutes. Today’s most advanced charging cables take more than 20 minutes to charge an electric vehicle. A patent application for this fast-charging cable invention has been filed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. “The amount of data coming out of the FBCE is just absolutely enormous, and that’s exactly what we want,” Mudawar said. Source: Issam Mudawar, mudawar@ecn.purdue.edu Image: An experiment designed by Purdue University researchers to study the effects of reduced gravity on boiling is loaded onto a Cygnus spacecraft in preparation for launch onboard an Antares rocket to the International Space Station. Credit: Northrop Grumman/NASAWith temperatures on the moon ranging from -410° to a scorching 250° F, it’s an understatement to say that humans will need habitats with heat and air conditioning to survive there long term. But heating and cooling systems won’t be effective enough to support habitats for lunar exploration or even longer trips to Mars without an understanding of what reduced gravity does to boiling and condensation. Engineers haven’t been able to crack this science – until now.

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A World-First in HTS Magnets

Tokamak EnergyOxford-based Tokamak Energy has built a world-first set of new generation high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets to be assembled and tested in fusion power plant-relevant scenarios. Creating clean, sustainable fusion energy requires strong magnetic fields to confine and control the extremely hot, positively-charged hydrogen fuel, which becomes a plasma several times hotter than the sun.

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Civil-Engineering Work for the Major Upgrade of the LHC Completed

Aerial view of CERNOn January 20, CERN celebrated the completion of the civil-engineering work for the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC), the major upgrade of its flagship collider, the LHC. Approved in June 2016 and due to start operating in 2029, the HL-LHC will considerably improve the performance of the LHC by increasing the number of particle collisions and thus boosting the potential for discoveries. The completion of the civil-engineering work marks the start of the transition towards the HL-LHC era; the new components for the collider will be installed in the caverns and galleries that are now ready. 

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Why the Hubble Telescope is Still in the Game — Even as JWST Wows

Astronauts replace a guidance sensor on the Hubble Space Telescope in 1999. Credit: NASA/Science Photo LibraryOnce the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) began operations last year, the comparisons began. Astronomers and others online posted side-by-side images of the same celestial objects captured by JWST and the Hubble Space Telescope, pointing out how much crisper and more detailed those from JWST can be. But don’t count Hubble out yet. The telescope, from NASA and the European Space Agency, is still making big discoveries, after going strong for nearly 33 years.

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Unraveling the Neutrino’s Mysteries at the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment

Image: A look inside the ProtoDune Cyrostat Final structure inside a mine in South Dakota. Credit: CERN.Neutrinos mind their own business. Each second, billions of these fundamental particles will pass through stars, planets, buildings, and human bodies and will rarely ever be stopped by them, like a subatomic subway crowd. It’s why they’re often described as “ghostly” or “elusive.” "If scientists could create and capture the rare instances when these tiny and weakly interactive particles run into something, they could step into the gray area that all physicists ultimately hope to explore," said theoretical physicist Patrick Huber. "That of facts that exist outside the Standard Model of Particle Physics, beyond its explanation. Neutrinos live there, and so does dark matter."

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Berkeley Lab Scientists Develop a Cool New Method of Refrigeration

Credit: Jenny Nuss/Berkeley LabAdding salt to a road before a winter storm changes when ice will form. Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have applied this basic concept to develop a new method of heating and cooling. The technique, which they have named “ionocaloric cooling,” is described in a paper published December 23 in Science.

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With Landmark Approval, Spotlight on Cryogenic Logistics Intensifies

Hum T-Cells-NIHThe cell and gene therapy (CGT) industry achieved a significant milestone at the end of 2022: the first approval of an allogeneic T-cell therapy in the world. Following a positive recommendation from Europe’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), the European Commission on Monday 19th December formally approved Atara Biotherapeutics’ Ebvallo (tabelecleucel) for the treatment of Epstein-Barr virus-positive, post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease in patients who have undergone at least one prior therapy. 

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New Instrument Measures Supercurrent Flow with Quantum Benefits

Jigang Wang with his Cryogenic Magneto-Terahertz Scanning Near-field Optical Microscope. (That’s cm-SNOM for short.) The instrument works at extreme scales of space, time and energy. Its performance is a step toward optimizing the superconducting quantum bits that will be at the heart of quantum computing. Larger photo. Photos by Christopher Gannon/Iowa State University.Jigang Wang offered a quick walk-around of a new sort of microscope that can help researchers understand, and ultimately develop, the inner workings of quantum computing. Wang, an Iowa State University professor of physics and astronomy who’s also affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames National Laboratory, described how the instrument works in extreme scales of space, time and energy – billionths of a meter, quadrillionths of a second and trillions of electromagnetic waves per second.

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Cryomech Celebrates 60 Years of Cryo-Innovations

Image: Cryomech celebrates 60 years of cryo-innovation at its home office in Syracuse, New York. Credit: Cryomech Inc.Cryomech was founded in 1963 by William E. “Bill” Gifford. Gifford was a professor at Syracuse University from 1961 to 1978 and (in collaboration with Dr. Howard O. McMahon) invented the Gifford-McMahon (GM) cycle cryo­cooler in 1957. This invention made research at very low temperatures much more accessible to the scientific community. The new GM cryocooler was affordable, easy to work with and far more re­liable than the “homegrown” equipment research institutions could build together at that time. In 1963 when Gifford began receiving requests from fellow scientists for GM cryocoolers for their labs, he founded Cryomech, Inc. – the era of cryocooler innovation began.

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The “New” Space Mission--Cryogenic Bearings

Figure 1. Example of the catastrophic result of ductile-to-brittle transition in steel. Credit: U.S. GPOSince the late 1990s, advancements in communication technology and the advent of GPS expanded the desire for companies and governments to invest in satellite technologies that operate in higher orbit. Today, companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Orbit, Relativity Space and ULA are developing cost-effective, reusable launch systems. 

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Why the LNG Retrofit Revolution Has Cryospain at Work Across Land and Sea

Asian governments are stepping up LNG bunkering operations for the maritime industry. Credit: Teresa Requena, courtesy of CryospainWhat is it about liquefied natural gas (LNG) for transport that has Cryospain’s teams hard at work across continents and oceans, on existing and brand-new vehicles and all over the world? Within the context of the global challenge of slashing emissions, LNG as fuel is taking a more and more central role: on land, a general shift towards rail for the ever-expanding heavy transport industry is coupled with a mission to make the trains themselves more efficient and environmentally friendly. The European Commission’s 2016 energy security package places gas front and center in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Of course, this means new-build natural gas engines, but it also must consider existing vehicles.

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SHI Cryogenics Group: Promoting Emission-Reducing Initiatives for a More Sustainable Society

The Hasso-no-Mori (Forest of Ideas) within the larger Musashino Forest at Tokyo’s Tanashi Works has been preserved and opened to the public. SHI's upgrades and renovations in and around manufacturing facilities have played a role in the Group’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly. Credit: Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd.Whether designing shield coolers for life-saving MRIs, cryopumps for the latest smart device chips, or cryocoolers essential for hydrogen transportation, the SHI Cryogenics Group has been at the forefront of pioneering cryogenic technology for over 60 years. As an integral part of the Industrial Machinery Division of Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd. (SHI), the SHI Cryogenics Group’s driving mission is to contribute to the development of science, technology, and healthy human life through its innovative products and services, including cryocoolers, cryopumps and helium compressors. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Group’s commitment towards carbon neutrality. 

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What’s the Matter? STAR Cryoelectronics Builds Superconducting Quantum Sensors for X-ray Analysis and Dark Matter Searches

Figure: The Beryllium-7 Electron Capture in Superconducting Tunnel Junctions (“BeEST”) experiment at LLNL uses quantum sensor arrays from STAR Cryoelectronics (left) to search for hypothetical sterile neutrino dark matter. The detection signature would be a small, shifted spectrum (red) added to the large background spectrum, due to known neutrinos (black). See Phys. Rev. Lett. 126, 021803 (2021) for details. Credit: STAR CryoelectronicsSTAR Cryoelectronics, founded in 1999, is a leading worldwide supplier of advanced ultrasensitive quantum sensors and X-ray detectors based on superconductors and related control and readout electronics. The company also offers custom thin-film foundry services for superconductor electronics applications, cryogen-free, adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (ADR) cryostats, and high-resolution spectrometers based on superconducting detectors for X-ray microanalysis. The company is based in Santa Fe, N.M. 

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