PHY695 fall 2021

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Class meet time and dates Instructors
  • When: Thursdays 5:45 pm - 8:45 pm
  • Where: Remotely via Zoom. A Zoom link will be sent to registered students via email before the first lecture.

  • Dr. Ram Dhuley
  • Dr. Matt Hollister
  • Arkadiy Klebaner
  • David Montanari

Course Overview

This graduate level course covers fundamental aspects of cryogenics systems and engineering properties of materials and fluids at low temperatures, cryogenic heat transfer and fluid dynamics, and low temperature refrigeration systems. Special focus will be on the physics and engineering aspects of liquid helium, ultra-pure liquid argon, and sub-Kelvin systems and their application in the cooling of contemporary particle accelerators, detectors, and sensors.

The course is intended for graduate students pursuing accelerator physics as well as graduate engineers and physicists who want to familiarize themselves with cryogenics.

Course Content

The course will begin with an introduction to cryogenics, including a brief history of the low temperature field and temperature measurement. The properties of materials at cryogenic temperatures and cryogenic fluids will then be discussed. Achieving cryogenic temperatures will be described, with particular emphasis on liquefaction and closed cycle refrigeration, followed by discussion of fluid and superfluid properties of helium. The discussion of refrigeration technologies will be extended below 1 Kelvin with the introduction of Helium-3 cryogenics and the dilution refrigerator, among other techniques. The concept of Argon purification to parts per trillion levels to enable very high purity neutrino experiments is also introduced. Finally, the related fields of cryogenic instrumentation and cryogenic safety will be presented.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to understand the physics behavior of systems and materials operating at cryogenic temperatures, and the technologies used to achieve and maintain temperatures at and below that of liquid helium. The aim is to provide students with ideas and approaches that enable them to evaluate and solve problems related to the application of cryogenic technologies to particle accelerators and quantum technologies.

Textbook and suggested materials

It is recommended that students re-familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of thermodynamics.

While all necessary material will be provided during lectures, we recommend the following textbook for in-depth study of the subject:

  • K. Timmerhaus and T. Flynn, Cryogenic Process Engineering, Plenum (1989).

Additional suggested reference books:

  • F. Pobell, Matter and Methods at Low Temperatures, Third Edition, Springer (2007).
  • S. W. Van Sciver, Helium Cryogenics, Second Edition, Springer (2012).
  • J. W. Ekin, Experimental Techniques for Low Temperature Measurements, Oxford (2006).


This course includes a series of lectures and exercise sessions. Homework problems will be assigned. Homework will be graded, and answers provided in the exercise sessions. There will be a final exam at the conclusion of the course.

Students will be evaluated based on the following performance criteria: final exam (50%), homework assignments and class participation (50%).

Lecture Notes


  • [HW1] Due at 4:30pm on September 9, 2021
  • [HW2] Due at 4:30pm on September 23, 2021
  • [HW3] Due at 4:30pm on October 14, 2021
  • Add link HW4 Due at 4:30pm on November 4, 2021
  • Add link HW5 Due at 4:30pm on November 18, 2021

Homework review sessions

Add link Final Exam due December 16