The task of the Cryogenics Laboratory and Test Stations (LCSE) is to master cryogenics technology applied to superconducting magnets, accelerating cavities, physics detectors (cryogenic target systems, calorimeters), and the production and distribution of liquid helium.
This expertise is applied to the design, construction, and operation of cryogenic facilities of various types and sizes. The fluids used at these facilities are helium I and II, nitrogen, argon, and hydrogen. Design and construction work focuses mainly on cryostats and the related cryodistribution function, as well as low-temperature refrigeration machines, ranging from cryogenerators to high-power helium refrigerators (cryoplants). Major technological developments focus on improving methods for cooling and maintaining low temperatures, for example, by optimizing thermal links or integrating the cryogenic loop or cryogenerator. They also include the development and integration of cryogenic targets in liquid or solid hydrogen for nuclear physics.
For its own development pursuits and to meet project needs, the laboratory operates several test and characterization stations that form a coherent system of 16 units used to determine the mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of various materials (insulation, composite materials, metal and superconducting alloys) at cryogenic temperatures, at high currents and in magnetic fields. They are also used to perform tests under nominal conditions on complete cryogenic subassemblies (such as magnet cryostats and ryomodules) or their basic components (coil cold mass, RF cavities, instrumentation), in sizes ranging from a few millimeters to several meters.
More specific R&D activities are conducted in areas involving low-temperature heat transfer (helium II in porous media, pulsating heat pipe in nitrogen, cooling through simple conduction), two-phase flows (thermosiphon with helium I, nitrogen, etc.), and the thermohydraulics of magnet quench.
At the end of 2015, laboratory staff consisted of 15 engineers, including 1 PhD student, and 13 technicians.