60 second science: Low temperature

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


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.