Scientists have found a replacement for helium for cooling near absolute zero — this promises to be a new word in science and technology

Many promising technologies and discoveries require supercooled environments. Traditionally, liquid helium and its isotopes are used for this.. An international team of scientists led by Chinese researchers has found a potential replacement for helium, which China is forced to import 94% of.. This replacement could be a previously unexplored type of superfluid solid based on cobalt.

AI generation “superfluid solid”. Image source: AI generation Kandinsky 3.0/3DNews

No one has yet tried to use superfluid solids (supersolid) as the working fluid of a cryogenic installation. Scientists have discovered that the cobalt-based “quantum magnetic” material they were studying was capable of lowering temperatures to below 1 K.. But a caveat should be made; this became possible only after cooling the experimental system to 4 K. Thus, it is impossible to completely abandon helium cooling, but it is possible to increase the efficiency of refrigerators. This is all the more important because the most difficult are the last stages when reaching areas near absolute zero.

The properties of superfluid solids for cooling purposes were studied by scientists from a specialized laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the School of Physics of Beihang University and the Center for Neutron Sciences of the Laue-Langevin Institute in France.

“This study shows that we can theoretically reach extremely low temperatures without relying on helium,” say the authors of the paper, which was recently published in the leading scientific journal Nature .

China turned out to be dependent not only on helium and its isotopes. The sanctions also included supplies to China of such cryogenic installations as dissolution refrigerators. Little by little, China is learning to produce such systems themselves. For example, last fall the company Origin Quantum announced the development of its own version of the dissolution refrigerator, which we recently wrote about in connection with the allocation of a 72-qubit Wukong quantum computer to cloud access. But this installation requires the isotopes helium-3 and helium-4 to operate, which again returns to China's dependence on helium. Therefore, there is no doubt that if the topic of cooling with the help of superfluid solids has a clear future, it will be developed to the maximum.