60 second science: low temperature physics with Dr Graham Batey

60 second profile of Dr Graham Batey from Oxford Instruments NanoScience, winner of the 2011 Business and Innovation Medal awarded by the Institute of Physics for sustained outstanding contribution to the application of low temperature physics in an industrial high technology environment. Graham has pioneered the development of refrigerators that can easily reach a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero without using liquid gasses like nitrogen and helium.


When you cool devices to low temperatures then the motions of the electrons and the atoms are greatly reduced and then this simplifies the structure and makes it easier to understand the physics of the device.

Dilution refrigerators are very applicable for this application, so this is a really exciting field at the moment.

My recent work on cryo-free systems has been enormously successful.

We’re running at 0.1 of a degree above absolute zero.

Tiny heat inputs at these temperatures, something like one ten millionth of the heat load from an electric lightbulb would be too much for the machine to accommodate and would cause it to warm up.

I’ve worked on a number of extremely exciting projects actually over the years.

I’ve been working in the field since 1985 and I still find it very enjoyable.

Dr Graham Batey points at detail on a computer screen and discusses with a design engineer

About the film

Filmed on location at

  • Oxford Instruments, Tubney Wood, Oxfordshire

Produced for the Institute of Physics

Director: Martyn Bull
Producer: Thomas Delfs
Camera: Steve Allen
Editor: Jacinta Madison
Music: Ram Khatabakhsh

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