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Institute of Physics Organises `50 Years of Dilution Refrigeration' Conference

A key refrigeration technology, which was pioneered in Manchester, is now 50 years old and a special event is being held to mark the occasion.

Dilution refrigerators have been used for a large number of significant scientific advancements, requiring temperatures below 0.3K, in areas such as graphene, topological insulators, quantum dots, superfluidity, superconductivity and quantum computing. Discoveries using such refrigeration have won two Nobel Prizes.

Dilution refrigerators have become hugely important as they allow scientists to work on materials at lower temperatures than they ever had before, allowing new insights to be found that would just not be possible using the previously existing refrigeration techniques.

And the first working dilution refrigerator was successfully built by the team lead by Professor Henry Hall in the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Manchester in 1965.

To mark the anniversary the Institute of Physics has organised a one-day conference `50 years of dilution refrigeration', on 16 September in the Schuster building.

It will celebrate the first realization of the process of cooling to very low temperatures by means of dissolving rare helium isotope 3He in liquid 4He (standard helium) - which nowadays has become the standard means of attaining temperatures down to several mK above the absolute zero (-273°C).

Celebrated pioneers of the field from all over world are invited to give talks (Rudolf de Bruyn-Ouboter from the Leiden group that achieved 220mK in 1964, Peter Ford from the Manchester group that achieved 65mK in 1965 and Oscar Vilches from the Urbana group that achieved 4.5mK in 1967, as well as others who perfected the technique for ultra-low temperatures, particle accelerators, refrigeration in space, etc.). The Conference is organized by two groups of the Institute of Physics, History of Physics and Low Temperature Physics, led by Professor Andrei Golov from the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Professor Golov said: “This should be a great opportunity for staff to recognise one of The University of Manchester’s most important contributions to science - when basic research into quantum fluids led to a huge impact on science and cryogenic industry world-wide.”

The conference takes place from 11:00 to 18:00 in the Rutherford Lecture Theatre of the Shuster building on Wednesday September 16. The free registration is open until 14 September through the conference webpage:

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