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Liquid nitrogen system

General description

Vacuum-based gas-sample processing systems, like Aeon's CEGS often must cool parts, typically called "coldfingers", to cryogenic temperatures. Liquid nitrogen (LN) offers a convenient and relatively inexpensive means to produce temperatures as low as -196 °C, but its benefits come with some unique challenges.

LN is usually delivered to the lab in a vacuum-insulated cryogenic cylinder, which dispenses it at 22 psi. Because LN boils at -196 °C, moving it into room-temperature plumbing or containers rapidly and violently flashes a large amount of the liquid into a gas, which then occupies a volume 700 times that of the liquid. The turbulence and increased pressure caused by this phase change continues until the contacted materials have cooled to LN's boiling point. In addition to these unstable conditions, cryogenic temperatures cause significant and diverse changes to the mechanical properties of most materials. All of this must be addressed by the automated LN-handling system, so that devices can be operated in a safe, reliable, and controlled manner.

Aeon's automated LN system manages delivery of LN from the cylinder to the coldfinger. Here is a brief description of the key features.

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