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London Low Temperature Laboratory

The London Low Temperature Laboratory is a centre for fundamental research in the mK and μK temperature regime and the development of new instrumentation and thermometry.


The Low Temperature Laboratory at RHUL was founded in 1986 as part of a reorganisation of the University of London, with a purpose built laboratory space of 130 m2. It has a long tradition of research in the microkelvin regime, and is currently equipped with four nuclear demagnetization cryostats. With expansion of activity over the years, the laboratory space now stands at 555 m2, of which 180 m2 is double height. The laboratory is supported by a helium liquefier installed in 2000. These infrastructure developments were funded by national strategic funds managed by HEFCE, with investment over 5 calls over a period of 20 years. The last investment was jointly sponsored by Oxford Instruments, through a strategic partnership, and the laboratory was renamed London Low Temperature Laboratory in 2011. We made the first demonstration of the feasibility of nuclear demagnetization on a cryogen-free dilution refrigerator in 2013, in collaboration with Oxford Instruments. The long research traditions of the laboratory strongly feature novel instrumentation development of wide applicability, including the pioneering work on: current sensing noise thermometry; SQUID NMR; quantum nanofluidics. In 1996 the Centre for Nanoelectronics was initiated at RHUL. Since 1998 we have operated a semi clean room, equipped with a electron beam lithography facility and associated equipment. All experimental activity is supported by a team of highly skilled technicians in our adjacent mechanical workshop (220 m2).

The in-house low temperature physics research includes experimental and theoretical studies of: refrigeration, cryogenics and thermometry in the liquid helium range and below; topological quantum matter; low dimensional quantum fluids and solids as model systems for condensed matter physics; cooling two-dimensional electron gases to ultra-low temperatures (in collaboration with Cambridge and LCN); superconducting quantum devices and sensors; ultrasensitive nanomechanical cryosensors; metrology. The latter strand is pursued in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington (< 30 min. drive away), with which we established a strategic partnership in 2011, and two joint appointments at full Professor level.

The key cryogenic facilities within the London Low Temperature Laboratory are described here.

The laboratory is supported by EPSRC, the European Commission (FP7), and Oxford Instruments Nanoscience.

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