Technical University of Munich (TUM) spin-off called Kiutra has developed a permanent magnetic cooling system for temperatures close to absolute zero (around -273°C), required for the operation of quantum computers.
Low temperatures are essential for basic research in the field of quantum physics, a discipline increasingly found at the heart of commercial applications. High-sensitivity detectors and quantum computers are well-known examples. Sensitive quantum technology requires temperatures close to absolute zero to operate effectively, hence the growing demand for effective cooling solutions.
Liquefied gases are typically used to generate very low temperatures. Where constant temperatures close to absolute zero are needed, the extremely rare and expensive isotope helium-3 has been used. There are magnetic cooling processes that can generate the requisite temperatures using inexpensive solids, but this lasts a limited period of time.
Concepts for permanent magnetic cooling have been around for many years, but their technical implementation is proving extremely challenging, preventing the development of an inexpensive solution for widespread use.
“We are the world’s first commercial supplier of a cooling system that can magnetically achieve temperatures close to absolute zero on a permanent basis,” said Alexander Regnat from Kiutra. “Our great advantage is that we do not need expensive helium-3 – all we need is electricity.”