Last year the Physics Institute of Unicamp consumed more than 28,000 liters of liquid helium gas. A high proportion of the research demands low temperatures. For example, in the case of superconductors the minimum temperature necessary is of 130 degrees Kelvin, the equivalent of around 140°C below zero ( -140oC). Consequently, the cooling liquid (cryogenics) is used to maintain these materials sufficiently cold, a fundamental condition so that they can exhibit superconductivity.
“Always when some group needs a system that requires cooling with liquid helium, our consumption shoots up considerably”, explains Maria José Pompeu Brasil, the coordinator of the Cryogenic Workshop. The records of the workshop show that last year the consumption kept rising. The support of the workshop is crucial for the carrying out of research in the laboratories, such as that of the Semiconductor Hetero-Structure of Magnetic Materials and Superconductors. To reduce the costs with the purchase of liquid helium, the Cryogenic Workshop recycles the gas used by the laboratories.
In order to meet demand, the workshop had to go through a large renovation, which allowed for an expansion of the area and the re-equipping of the electrical and hydraulic systems. It was also necessary to purchase new equipment such as a helium liquefier. In the opinion of the coordinator, the approval of the projects through the Infrastructure Program was fundamental for maintaining the sector in activity and for expanding the production of cryogenic liquids.Republish