GERMANY: A spin-off company from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) claims to have succeeded in developing a permanent magnetic cooling system to reach temperatures close to absolute zero.
Such low temperatures are essential for basic research in the field of quantum physics. More and more technologies based on quantum mechanics are now also making the leap from the laboratory to commercial applications.
High-sensitivity detectors and quantum computers are two well-known examples. However, very low temperatures close to absolute zero (-273°C) are generally required for the operation of sensitive quantum technology. Demand for effective cooling solutions is therefore rapidly growing.
The system was set up by a team of researchers from the physics department at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).
Kiutra, the company behind the system, is a spin-off of the university’s physics department.
The development team says there are already magnetic cooling processes which can generate the requisite temperatures using inexpensive solids – but usually only for a limited period of time.
Concepts for permanent magnetic cooling have been around for many years. “However, technical implementation is extremely challenging and this has previously prevented the development of a product for widespread use,” explained Tomek Schulz, one of the team behind the project.
“We are the world’s first commercial supplier of a cooling system that can magnetically achieve temperatures close to absolute zero (near -273°C) on a permanent basis,” said colleague Alexander Regnat. “Our great advantage is that we do not need expensive helium-3. All we need is electricity.”