Chinese scientists report development of helium cooling system using Helium-4

By Sandra Helsel posted 04 Apr 2022

(SouthChinaMorningPost) The SCMP recently published results of research by Professor Dang Haizheng and his colleagues with the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who have built a powerful chiller for some of the most demanding quantum machines without using any helium-3 at all. IQT-News summarizes the discussion and the importance of reported discovery below.

Researchers in Shanghai say they have developed a device to create extremely low temperatures that would make cutting-edge technology such as quantum computers more widely available.
The core components of most quantum machines – from computers to satellites – detect and manipulate subatomic particles that are easily disturbed by heat so must operate in conditions near absolute zero. Cooling the most advanced quantum hardware requires helium-3, an isotope of helium that can carry heat away with unmatched efficiency.
But helium-3 is extremely rare on Earth and the main supply is from ageing nuclear warheads.
Researchers in Shanghai say they have developed a device to create extremely low temperatures that would make cutting-edge technology such as quantum computers more widely available.
Cooling the most advanced quantum hardware requires helium-3, an isotope of helium that can carry heat away with unmatched efficiency.
Helium-3 is extremely rare on Earth and the main supply is from ageing nuclear warheads. The demand for helium-3 in quantum research and other disruptive technology has soared. In less than two decades its price has risen more than 40-fold to over US$5,000 per litre in gas form.
In the United States, helium-3 is one of the few commodities that is subject to strict government production and distribution controls on military grounds.
In a paper published in domestic peer-reviewed Science Bulletin recently, Professor Dang Haizheng and his colleagues with the Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said they had built a powerful chiller for some of the most demanding quantum machines without using any helium-3 at all.
The new cooling device reported by Professor Dang Haizheng and colleagues uses helium-4, another helium isotope as its coolant.

Sandra K. Helsel, Ph.D. has been researching and reporting on frontier technologies since 1990.  She has her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

 

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