World News

Industry news and insights from Europe and around the World

UK News

Latest news and developments in the United Kingdom

Products

Keep up-to-date with the latest new products and technology

Features

General articles, applications and industry analysis

Approaching absolute zero without helium

CHINA: Chinese scientists claim to have synthesised a supersolid material that can be cooled to near absolute zero without relying on increasingly scarce helium.

Said to be the first evidence of supersolidity in a real-world solid material, if confirmed this groundbreaking discovery has the potential to revolutionise cooling technology.

A supersolid is a special spatially-ordered quantum state of matter where particlest also flow with zero viscosity. 

This newly synthesised supersolid, Na2BaCo(PO4)2, is said to possess a giant magnetocaloric effect being capable of cooling to near absolute zero (-273.15ºC), the coldest possible temperature, without needing helium.

Helium is currently required for advanced research and technologies like superconducting magnets and MRI machines. However, with limited reserves and rising extraction costs, scientists and industries face a helium shortage.

Describing their research, Prof Su Gang of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of the lead scientists of the scientific team, said: “We put this material into magnetic fields and then tried to remove the fields while keeping the heat from leaking. As we slowly reduce the magnetic fields, the temperature of the material also lowered slowly, eventually reaching 94mK.” 

The concept of supersolidity has been occupying physicists since the 1970s, but proving its existence in real materials has remained elusive. 

This new study is published in the scientific journal Nature.

Latest News

26th February 2024

Brian Streatfield 1936-2024

UK: Brian Streatfield, a man who was instrumental in the formation of Carrier in the UK during the 1970s, died at the weekend. He was 87.
25th February 2024

Safety is vital in global F-gas transition

UK: Institute of Refrigeration president Graeme Fox has warned of the real-world issues that the “rapid transition” to “natural” refrigerants poses for developing countries.
25th February 2024

Terrie Lamb wins lifetime achievement award

UK: Terrie Lamb of Cimetrics was recognised for 25 years of dedication to the RACHP sector in a night of awards at Thursday night’s annual Institute of Refrigeration (IoR) dinner.
25th February 2024

Boosting EV range with microwave energy

UK: Researchers from the University of Birmingham are working on an energy storage system which couples a chemical heat pump with microwave energy to produce heating or cooling on demand.
25th February 2024

Home heat pump install for newly-trained engineers

UK: A UK charity is proposing to give newly trained heat pump installers an air-source heat pump to install in their own home.
23rd February 2024

Hoshizaki acquires 25% stake in Fogel

PANAMA: Japanese refrigeration equipment manufacturer Hoshizaki has acquired a 25% stake in Fogel Company Inc, a manufacturer of commercial refrigeration equipment based in Republic of Panama, for US$28m.