SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR CRYOGENIC REFRIGERATION
Systems and methods for improving the performance of dilution refrigeration systems are described. Filters and traps employed in the helium circuit of a dilution refrigerator may be modified to improve performance. Some traps may be designed to harness cryocondensation as opposed to cryoadsorption. A cryocondensation trap employs a cryocondensation surface having a high thermal conductivity and a high specific heat with a binding energy that preferably matches at least one contaminant but does not match helium. Multiple traps may be coupled in series in the helium circuit, with each trap designed to trap a specific contaminant or set of contaminants. Both cryocondensation and cryoadsorption may be exploited among multiple traps.
The present systems and methods generally relate to cryogenic refrigeration technology, and particularly relate to cryogenic trapping systems and methods for removing contaminants from cryogen circuits.Description of the Related Art
Temperature is a property that can have a great impact on the state and evolution of a physical system. For instance, environments of extreme heat can cause even the strongest and most solid materials to melt away or disperse as gas. Likewise, a system that is cooled to cryogenic temperatures may enter into a regime where physical properties and behavior differ substantially from what is observed at room temperature. In many technologies, it can be advantageous to operate in this cryogenic regime and harness the physical behaviors that are realized in the realm of cold. The various embodiments of the systems, methods and apparatus described herein may be used to provide and maintain the cryogenic environments necessary to take advantage of the physics at cold temperatures.
Throughout this specification and the appended claims, the term “cryogenic” is used to refer to the temperature range of 0 to about 93K. A variety of technologies may be implemented to produce an environment with cryogenic temperature, though a commonly used device that is known in the art is the dilution refrigerator. Dilution refrigerators can even be used to achieve extreme cryogenic temperatures below 50 mK. In the operation of a typical dilution refrigerator, the apparatus itself requires a background temperature of about 4K. In order to provide this background cooling, the apparatus may be, e.g., immersed in an evaporating bath of liquid helium-4 (“4He”) or, e.g., coupled to another type of refrigeration device, such as a pulse-tube cryocooler. The dilution refrigerator apparatus may comprise a series of heat exchangers and chambers that allow the temperature to be lowered further to a point where a mixture of 3He and 4He separates into two distinct phases and pure 3He can move into a mixture of 3He and 4He in a process analogous to evaporation, providing cooling and allowing a temperature of around 10 mK to be achieved. Full details on this dilution effect and the operation of typical dilution refrigerators may be found in F. Pobell, Matter and Methods at Low Temperatures, Springer-Verlag Second Edition, 1996, pp. 120-156.
In most dilution refrigerator designs, mechanical pumps and compressors, and an external gas-handling system, are used to circulate 3He such that it is warmed from the lowest temperature in the fridge up above cryogenic temperatures and towards room temperature before it is returned to the low temperature. The pumps and compressors used are large, expensive, noisy, in need of periodic maintenance, and they inevitably add contaminants, such as air (i.e., nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, argon, etc.) to the helium. These contaminants typically have higher freezing points than the helium and so may solidify in the helium fluid channels, creating blockages. Such blockages may plug fine capillaries in the dilution refrigerator, causing problems with reliability. Plugging often requires a complete warm-up of a dilution refrigerator in order to remove the contaminants and restore the fridge to normal operations. The procedure of warming and subsequently cooling back down to operating temperatures can take several days. Filters and cold traps can be used to reduce the frequency of plugging by removing contaminants from the helium, but current filters and traps used in the art are of limited effectiveness. Thus, plugging due to contaminants remains a serious technical challenge in cryogenic refrigeration technology affecting fridge performance, and there remains a need in the art for improved systems and methods for contaminant filtering and/or trapping in cryogenic refrigeration systems.BRIEF SUMMARY
A dilution refrigeration system may be summarized as including: a dilution refrigerator including a helium circuit; a secondary cold source that in operation provides cooling power at temperatures between about 4K and about 77K; and at least a first trap coupled in series with the helium circuit, wherein the first trap comprises a first trap volume and at least one cryocondensation surface inside the first trap volume, and wherein the at least one cryocondensation surface is thermally coupled to the secondary cold source.
The first trap volume may include multiple cryocondensation surfaces to provide a large surface area in the first trap volume. The secondary cold source may include a pulse tube cryocooler. The at least one cryocondensation surface may be formed of a material having a low thermal conductivity, the low thermal conductivity not less than a lowest of a respective thermal conductivity of a material selected from a group consisting of: steel, stainless steel, Monel®, and titanium alloy. Each of the multiple cryocondensation surfaces may be formed of a material having a high thermal conductivity, the high thermal conductivity not less than a highest of a respective thermal conductivity of a material selected from a group consisting of: copper, silver sinter, brass, bronze and aluminum. The dilution refrigeration system may further include: a second trap coupled in series with the helium circuit, wherein the second trap comprises a second trap volume and an adsorptive material inside the second trap volume. The second trap may be thermally coupled to the secondary cold surface. The dilution refrigeration system may further include: a tertiary cold source that in operation provides cooling power at temperatures between about 4K and about 77K, wherein the second trap is thermally coupled to the tertiary cold source. The tertiary cold source may include a pulse tube cryocooler. The tertiary cold source may include a bath of liquid cryogen. The dilution refrigerator may be thermally coupled to the secondary cold source.
A cryogenic trapping system may be summarized as including: a cryoadsorption trap including an adsorption material and a plurality of thermalization surfaces interposed throughout the adsorption material, wherein the thermalization surfaces form a circuitous route through the adsorption material through which gas flows; and a cryocondensation trap coupled in series with the cryoadsorption trap, wherein the cryocondensation trap includes a length of tubing that is at least partially filled with a high surface area cryocondensation material.
The cryoadsorption trap and the cryocondensation trap may both be thermally coupled to a first temperature stage in a cryogenic refrigeration system. The cryogenic trapping system may further include: at least two parallel trapping subsystems both coupled in series with the cryoadsorption trap, wherein the at least two parallel trapping subsystems are each controllably thermally coupleable to a second temperature stage in the cryogenic refrigeration system via a respective heat switch, and wherein the second temperature stage of the cryogenic refrigeration system is warmer than the first temperature stage of the cryogenic refrigeration system. The at least two parallel trapping subsystems may each employ at least one of cryoadsorption and/or cryocondensation. The condensation material may be formed of a material having a high thermal conductivity, the high thermal conductivity not less than a lowest of a respective thermal conductivity of a material selected from a group consisting of: copper, silver sinter, brass, bronze, and aluminum. The length of tubing of the cryocondensation trap may be formed of a material having a low thermal conductivity, the low thermal conductivity not more than a highest of a respective thermal conductivity of a material selected from a group consisting of: steel, stainless steel, Monel®, and titanium alloy. The cryogenic trapping system may further include at least one gauge connected in series with the cryogenic trapping system, the at least one gauge selected from a group consisting of: flowmeters, pressure gauges, and contaminant sensors.
In the drawings, identical reference numbers identify similar elements or acts. The sizes and relative positions of elements in the drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale. For example, the shapes of various elements and angles are not drawn to scale, and some of these elements are arbitrarily enlarged and positioned to improve drawing legibility. Further, the particular shapes of the elements as drawn are not intended to convey any information regarding the actual shape of the particular elements, and have been solely selected for ease of recognition in the drawings.
In the following description, some specific details are included to provide a thorough understanding of various disclosed embodiments. One skilled in the relevant art, however, will recognize that embodiments may be practiced without one or more of these specific details, or with other methods, components, materials, etc. In other instances, well-known structures associated with refrigeration systems, such as heat exchangers, impedances, and control systems including microprocessors, heat switches, drive circuitry and nontransitory computer- or processor-readable media such as nonvolatile memory for instance read only memory (ROM), electronically erasable programmable ROM (EEPROM) or FLASH memory, etc., or volatile memory for instance static or dynamic random access memory (ROM) have not been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring descriptions of the embodiments of the present systems and methods.
Unless the context requires otherwise, throughout the specification and claims which follow, the word “comprise” and variations thereof, such as, “comprises” and “comprising” are to be construed in an open, inclusive sense, that is as “including, but not limited to.”
Reference throughout this specification to “one embodiment,” or “an embodiment,” or “another embodiment” means that a particular referent feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment. Thus, the appearances of the phrases “in one embodiment,” or “in an embodiment,” or “another embodiment” in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments.
It should be noted that, as used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural referents unless the content clearly dictates otherwise. Thus, for example, reference to a problem-solving system including “a refrigeration system” includes a single refrigeration system, or two or more refrigeration systems. It should also be noted that the term “or” is generally employed in its sense including “and/or” unless the content clearly dictates otherwise.
The headings provided herein are for convenience only and do not interpret the scope or meaning of the embodiments.
The various embodiments described herein provide systems and methods for improving the performance of cryogenic refrigeration systems. More specifically, the various embodiments described herein provide systems and methods for improved filtering/trapping of contaminants in the helium circuit of a dilution refrigerator.
Most dilution refrigeration systems available today are susceptible to plugging in the helium circuit caused by the freezing out of contaminants that have permeated into the helium itself. For example, a small leak in a pump or portion of tubing in the helium circuit may allow the ingress of air into the helium circuit, and the components of this air may freeze at a temperature at which the helium remains a gas or liquid. The frozen air may adhere to the inner walls of the tubing that forms the helium circuit and plug the circuit. Such plugging will affect, and may completely disrupt, the operation of the dilution refrigerator.
In some applications, it may be desirable for a dilution refrigerator to be capable of continuous operations for on the order of years. For example, in applications of superconducting computing (such as superconducting quantum computation) where the computer processor is cooled by a dilution refrigerator, it may be desirable for the computer processor to remain cold (i.e., operational) for on the order of years. Current dilution refrigeration systems will typically experience a plugging event on shorter timescales (i.e., on the order of days, weeks, or months) and are not well-suited to providing continuous operation for on the order of years. Current dilution refrigeration systems rely on filters or “cold traps” to remove contaminants from the helium in the helium circuit.
Most cold traps available today employ cryoadsorption to essentially extract contaminants from the helium as it flows through the cold trap. Systems and methods for cryoadsorptive cold trapping are known in the art and would be understood by a person of skill in the art. In brief, a cryoadsorptive cold trap comprises a large volume (i.e., the “trap”) having an input port and an output port. Tubing of the helium circuit is connected to these ports such that the internal volume of the trap is part of the helium circuit. The trap is cooled to a cryogenic temperature, typically by immersion in a liquid cryogen such as liquid nitrogen. The trap is at least partially filled with a cryoadsorptive material, such as charcoal, activated charcoal, or zeolite. When the cryoadsorptive material is cooled to a sufficiently cold temperature (by thermal coupling to, e.g., the liquid cryogen bath; “sufficiently cold” depends on the specific material being employed) the cryoadsorptive material will adsorb certain substances from its environment. The cryoadsorptive material may be thought of as a sort of “sponge” that soaks up certain materials in its environment and allows other materials to pass through. Whether any given material will be “soaked up” or “pass through” the cryoadsorptive material depends, at least in part, on the temperature of the cryoadsorptive material. Helium can typically only be significantly adsorbed at very cold temperatures (i.e., colder than most other substances), thus, a cryoadsorptive material may be cooled to a temperature at which it does not adsorb helium itself but does adsorb contaminants that may be present in the helium. This is the basis for most modern cold traps.
There are many potential sources of performance degradation in cryoadsorptive cold traps. For example, the liquid nitrogen bath employed to cool the trap may continually boil away nitrogen, causing the level of liquid nitrogen surrounding the trap to fall and reductions/variations in the cooling of the cryoadsorptive material. Cold traps of this form require regular replenishment of liquid nitrogen. Furthermore, many cryoadsorptive materials (such as charcoal) are very poor thermal conductors and not easily thermalized to the temperature of the liquid nitrogen immersion bath. Thus, even if a trap is immersed in liquid nitrogen, there is no guarantee that the cryoadsorptive material within the trap is sufficiently cooled to provide the desired trapping performance. Furthermore, cryoadsorptive cold traps are not designed to accommodate phase changes of contaminants therein. Solidification of contaminants of cold surface of cryoadsorptive material can influence the flow of helium through the trap and can provide “low resistance channels” through which contaminants can flow without being adsorbed.
A further limitation of modern dilution refrigerator/cold trap designs is that they are typically designed as “one trap for all contaminants.”
In accordance with the present systems and methods, the performance of a cold trap may be improved by harnessing the effects of cryocondensation as opposed to cryoadsorption and/or by implementing multiple “contaminant-specific” traps each at a specific temperature in the helium circuit.
Cryocondensation is a physical phenomenon whereby molecules of gas encounter a very cold surface and freeze to it. Cryocondensation is, in effect, a mechanism by which blockages and plugging by contaminants may occur within the helium circuit of a dilution refrigerator (as described above). In accordance with the present systems and methods, this mechanism may be used to deliberately trap contaminants in dedicated regions of the helium circuit such that the contaminants do not form blockages that plug the circuit.
A “cryocondensation trap” may be similar to a cryoadsorption trap in that it employs a trapping volume connected in series with the helium circuit via an input port and an output port. However, a cryocondensation trap may not employ a cryoadsorptive material to adsorb contaminants. Instead, a cryocondensation trap may employ a material having a high thermal conductivity and a high specific heat, such as a metal (e.g., copper, stainless steel, silver sinter, brass, bronze, aluminum, etc.) or other material, such as alumina silicate, clay, glass wool, etc. For example, the trapping volume may be formed of such a material and the inner walls of the trapping volume may function as cryocondensation surfaces. In practice, it may be advantageous to provide a large surface area of cryocondensation material. To this end, the inner surface of the trap volume may be rifled, corrugated, textured, finned, etc. or alternatively the inner volume of the trap may include a sintered metal, a screen, a mesh, a wool, or other “perforated” formation that provides a high contact surface area for the helium. Ideally, the cryocondensation material will have a binding energy that matches the contaminant(s) to be trapped but that does not match helium so as to minimize the trapping of helium. The residency of molecules on the cryocondensation surface(s) should be long, e.g., on the order of years.
As described previously, certain contaminants may cryocondense and/or cryoadsorb at a first temperature range and other contaminants may cryocondense and/or cryoadsorb at a second (different) temperature range. For example, water, carbon dioxide, and most hydrocarbons may cryocondense/cryoadsorb at around 77K. Thus, in accordance with the present systems and methods, it may be advantageous to implement a first cold trap at or below about 77K. This first cold trap may employ cryoadsorption or cryocondensation, or a combination of cryoadsorption and cryocondensation. However, nitrogen, oxygen, and argon may cryoadsorb/cryocondense at around 20K. Thus, in accordance with the present systems and methods, it may be advantageous to implement a second cold trap at or below about 20K. This second cold trap may employ cryoadsorption or cryocondensation, or a combination of cryoadsorption and cryocondensation. Here it is noted that a single cold trap at 77K may not be sufficient to trap nitrogen, oxygen and argon, whereas a single cold trap at 20K may be forced to trap too many contaminants and quickly become plugged with water, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen, oxygen, and argon. In general, a trap that is designed to trap a large number/volume of contaminants must employ a correspondingly large trapping volume to prevent becoming plugged. Furthermore, neon and hydrogen may cryoadsorb/cryocondense at or below about 5K. Thus, in accordance with the present systems and methods, it may be advantageous to implement a third cold trap at or below about 5K. This third cold trap may employ cryoadsorption or cryocondensation, or a combination of cryoadsorption and cryocondensation. Particular care must be taken for a cold trap operating at ˜5K to minimize trapping of helium. For example, a cold trap operating at ˜5K may employ simple structure, such as a copper tube, to minimize trapping of helium.
In accordance with the present systems and methods, each respective cold trap in a multi-cold trap system may be individually cooled to operation temperature. Some cold traps, such as zeolite adsorption traps for trapping water, may be operated at room temperature. A 77K trap for trapping, e.g., water, carbon dioxide, and most hydrocarbons may be cooled by immersion in liquid nitrogen, or it may be cooled by thermal coupling to a 77K stage of a cryocooler, such as a pulse tube cryocooler. A 20K trap may for trapping, e.g., nitrogen, oxygen, and argon may be cooled by, e.g., thermal coupling to a 20K stage of a cryocooler, such as a pulse tube cryocooler. A 5K cold trap for trapping, e.g., hydrogen and neon, may be cooled by, e.g., thermal coupling to a 5K stage of a cryocooler such as a pulse tube cryocooler. In some implementations, at least one cold trap may be thermally coupled to a cryocooler that is dedicated to the cooling of cold traps. For example, any or all of the 77K trap, the 20K trap, and the 5K trap described above (or any other trap at any other temperature) may be thermally coupled to the corresponding temperature stage of a single pulse tube cryocooler. In implementations where the dilution refrigerator is itself cooled by a pulse tube cryocooler (i.e., for a “pulse tube dilution refrigerator) the same pulse tube that is used to cool the dilution refrigerator may be used to cool any or all of the 77K trap, the 20K, trap, the 5K trap described above, or any other trap at any other temperature. Some implementations may employ at least two pulse tubes, with a first pulse tube used to cool the dilution refrigerator and a second pulse tube used to cool at least one cold trap. If desirable, the first pulse tube may also be used to cool at least one cold trap.
In some implementations, it may be desirable to couple at least two traps to the same temperature so as to provide redundant trapping mechanisms for contaminants that may be trapped at that temperature.
Dilution refrigeration system 100 also include vacuum can 104 which contains dilution refrigerator 101, pulse tune 102, and traps 120 and 130. Since traps 120 and 130 are contained within the vacuum can 104 that houses dilution refrigerator 101, traps 120 and 130 may be referred to as “internal cold traps” in system 100. Since trap 110 is located outside of vacuum can 104, trap 110 may be referred to as an “external trap.”
A further aspect of adsorption traps is that the “sponging” type mechanism by which they operate inevitably results in the adsorptive material becoming saturated such that it can no longer adsorbs contaminants. When this happens, the trap ceases to remove further contaminants from the helium and the fridge may become plugged. To avoid such plugging, adsorptive traps need to be regenerated. Regeneration of an adsorptive trap involves heating the adsorptive material until the contaminants are released. Accordingly, adsorptive traps typically include a vent port through which contaminants may be released during regeneration. The timeframe within which an adsorption trap needs to be regenerated (i.e., the regeneration cycle of the trap) depends on many factors, including the adsorptive material used, the size of the trap, and the type and quantity of contaminants being adsorbed. In accordance with the present systems and methods, if the regeneration cycle of an adsorptive trap is less than the desired cooling cycle of the dilution refrigeration system, then multiple adsorptive traps can be coupled in parallel in the helium circuit such that at least one adsorptive trap is active at all times while the other trap(s) is/are regenerating. In such instances, each trap in a set of parallel traps may each be operated at the same temperature, and if that temperature is colder than room temperature then each trap in a set of parallel traps may be thermally coupleable to the same cold source (e.g., the same pulse tube cryocooler) via a respective thermal switch such that any actively adsorbing trap is thermally coupled to the cold source and any regenerating trap is thermally decoupled from the cold source.
In general, adsorber regeneration is improved as the regeneration temperature is increased. However, if an adsorber had adsorbed hydrocarbons it may be preferable to regenerate only at a temperature that is sufficient to release other contaminants (e.g., water) and not the hydrocarbons themselves, since releasing hydrocarbons may require regenerating at a temperature that is so high that is may damage other trap components (or the adsorber material itself). An adsorption trap that has become saturated with hydrocarbons may be “regenerated” by replacing the adsorption material rather than by baking the trap.
A further limitation of modern cold trap designs is that they provide little or no mechanism for clearly monitoring the performance of the trap. Most dilution refrigerator diagnostics are based on the condensing pressure in the fridge, which provides indirect information about helium flow and overall fridge health. In accordance with the present systems and methods, the performance of cold trap systems may be enhanced by building active gauges into the trap itself, and/or into the helium circuit immediately before and after the trap. Examples of the types of gauges that may be employed include flowmeters, pressure gauges, and contaminant sensors such as water sensors, nitrogen sensors, and the like. It is also advantageous to automate the operation of traps as much as possible by providing, e.g., remotely controlled sensors, gauges, and/or valves and switches, etc., as needed.
The present systems and methods provide individual cold trap designs and systems of multiple cold traps coupled in series and/or parallel in order to enhance the removal of contaminants from the helium circuit in a dilution refrigerator and extend the operating time of the dilution refrigerator. However, similar effects may be achieved by redesigning portions of the helium circuit that are prone to blocking (e.g., narrow tubes, right angles or otherwise unfavorable geometries, etc.) and/or by minimizing air/contaminant ingress into the helium circuit. An example of how to minimize air ingress into the helium circuit is to replace all elastomer seals/gaskets (e.g., O-rings, etc.) with metal seals (e.g., solder) or other seal types having lower permeability.
In some implementations, higher temperature traps may be thermally coupled to the regenerator of a pulse tube to take advantage of available cooling power that is otherwise unused.
Most adsorption traps typically seen in the art employ a single mass of adsorption material contained in a large reservoir volume. This inevitably results in the formation of preferential flow paths through the adsorption material such that only a fraction of the adsorptive surface is actually encountered by the flowing gas (e.g., helium). Also, since adsorptive materials (e.g., charcoal) are typically not good thermal conductors (more like insulators), a large mass of adsorption material typically does not thermalize well throughout.
In accordance with the present systems and methods, it may be advantageous to design an adsorptive trap so that the flowing gas is forced to encounter more of the adsorptive material (i.e., as much as possible of the adsorptive material, or at least more than what is achieved in conventional traps). It may also be advantageous to ensure that more of the adsorptive material (again, as much as possible of the adsorptive material, or at least more than what is achieved in conventional traps) is thermalized to the desired temperature.
Cryogenic trapping system 200 also includes cryocondensation trap 220 that has a high surface area or condensation material 221. Condensation trap 220 effectively replaces a portion of tubing that is normally present in dilution refrigeration systems. The tubing that is normally used is this part of the helium circuit is typically very narrow in diameter and it only takes a relatively small amount of contaminant to form a blockage therein. Condensation trap 220, this narrow tubing is replaced with large diameter tubing 222 that is at least partially filled with high surface area condensation material 221 such as metal/glass mesh/foam. Tubing 222 may be thermalized to one specific temperature, or have dedicated sections thermalized to specific temperatures, or be thermalized to multiple temperatures to establish a temperature gradient over the trapping surface. Providing trapping surfaces at multiple temperatures (or over a gradient of temperatures) may help ensure multiple contaminant material are captured. The combination of increased volume in tubing 222 and added condensation surface area (221) within the tubing may be designed to have a low net effect on the impedance of this tubing section in the fridge.
Cryoadsorption trap 210 and cryocondensation trap 220 of cryogenic trapping system 200 may be used to form a “fine” trap at or below the 1st pulse tube stage and down to the 2nd pulse tube stage in a PTDR (both are illustrated as being thermalized to the first stage of pulse tube 240 in
The above description of illustrated embodiments, including what is described in the Abstract, is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the embodiments to the precise forms disclosed. Although specific embodiments of and examples are described herein for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosure, as will be recognized by those skilled in the relevant art. The teachings provided herein of the various embodiments can be applied to other methods of quantum computation, not necessarily the exemplary methods for quantum computation generally described above.
The various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, International (PCT) patent applications referred to in this specification and/or listed in the Application Data Sheet are incorporated herein by reference, in their entirety including U.S. A No. 61/729,250 filed Nov. 21, 2012 and U.S. A No. 61/736,456 filed Dec. 12, 2012. Aspects of the embodiments can be modified, if necessary, to employ systems, circuits and concepts of the various patents, applications and publications to provide yet further embodiments.
These and other changes can be made to the embodiments in light of the above-detailed description. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit the claims to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification and the claims, but should be construed to include all possible embodiments along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled. Accordingly, the claims are not limited by the disclosure.
14. A dilution refrigeration system comprising:
- a dilution refrigerator comprising a helium fluid circuit;
- a pulse tube cryocooler comprising a cold head thermally coupled to the dilution refrigerator, the pulse tube cryocooler further comprising a first and a second temperature stage, the first temperature stage operable to provide cooling power at a first temperature, the second temperature stage operable to provide cooling power at a second temperature, the second temperature lower than the first temperature, each of the first and the second temperatures having a value in a range between about 4K and about 77K; and
- a cryocondensation trap coupled in series with the helium fluid circuit, the cryocondensation trap comprising a cryocondensation trap volume formed by a segment of tubing in the helium fluid circuit, and a first and a second cryocondensation surface positioned inside the cryocondensation trap volume, wherein the first cryocondensation surface is thermally coupled to the first temperature stage of the pulse tube cryocooler, and the second cryocondensation surface is thermally coupled to the second temperature stage of the pulse tube cryocooler.
15. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 14, wherein the helium fluid circuit comprises a segment of tubing at a third temperature, the third temperature higher than the first and the second temperature.
16. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 15, wherein the third temperature is room temperature.
17. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 14, further comprising:
- an adsorptive trap coupled in series with the cryocondensation trap, the adsorptive trap comprising an adsorptive trap volume, and an adsorptive material inside the adsorptive trap volume.
18. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 17, wherein the adsorptive material comprises at least one of charcoal, activated charcoal or zeolite.
19. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 17, wherein the adsorptive trap is at room temperature.
20. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 17, wherein the adsorptive trap is thermally coupled to the pulse tube cryocooler.
21. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 17, further comprising:
- a bath of liquid cryogen, wherein the adsorptive trap is immersed in the bath of liquid cryogen.
22. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 14, wherein the cryocondensation trap volume comprises a plurality of cryocondensation surfaces to provide a large surface area in the cryocondensation trap volume.
23. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 14, wherein the cryocondensation trap comprises a length of tubing that is at least partially filled with a high surface area cryocondensation material.
24. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 14, further comprising:
- a heat switch thermally coupled between one of the first and the second cryocondensation surface and the respective first and second temperature stage of the pulse tube cryocooler, the heat switch operable to provide controllable thermal coupling.
25. The dilution refrigeration system of claim 14, further comprising:
- at least one valve and a segment of bypass tubing, hydraulically coupled between the cryocondensation trap and the helium fluid circuit, the at least one value operable to cause the helium fluid circuit to bypass the cryocondensation trap.