Contact: Dr. Malte Grosche, Dr. Michael Sutherland, Physics
Mentor: Adrian Swinburne

Access to low temperatures close to absolute zero is needed for a range of applications in sensing, for example to cool transition edge detectors in particle physics experiments or infrared detectors in astrophysics, as well as in emerging quantum technologies such as quantum communications and quantum computing. Currently, research experiments close to absolute zero use large and expensive dilution fridges, which limits the flexibility of any sensors and devices developed as a result.

The team at the Cavendish is working towards a compact cooler which can reach temperatures below 1K. The cooler’s operations is based on magnetic principles, cooling via an applied magnetic field, but it uses a novel material with a much higher density of magnetic moments than traditional materials.

The challenge for the i-Team is to investigate the academic and industrial need for this type of cooling. The team will need to identify what a small cooler might be used for, as well as assessing the competing technologies. For example, which applications need a stable temperature, and which need changing temperatures? What heat loads need to be absorbed? How large are the devices which need to be cooled, and where will they be located? What is the realistic potential for quantum sensors and communication or computing devices, and would a small cooler help increase their applicability and target markets? The team will be responsible for recommending the best target markets for the cooler, as well as the specifications it needs to have to be attractive in those markets.