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Title: Engineering the Big Chill: The story of JLab’s Central Helium Liquefier

This article tells the story of the Central Helium Liquefier (CHL) at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab), one of the US National Laboratories. JLab’s successful superconducting radio frequency accelerator was only possible because a group of JLab engineers successfully tackled a complex of difficulties to build a cryogenic system that included the CHL, a task that required advancing the frontier of cryogenic technology. Ultimately, these cryogenic advances were applied far beyond JLab to the benefit of cutting-edge programs at other US national laboratories (Oak Ridge, Brookhaven, and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at MSU) as well as NASA. In addition, this innovation story dramatizes the sort of engineer-driven technological problem solving that allows the successful launch and operation of experimental projects. Along the way, the CHL story also provides an important addition to our understanding of the role played by engineers and industry in creating knowledge at physics laboratories.
  1. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
JLAB-PHY-14-2002; DOE/OR/23177-3925
Journal ID: ISSN 1422-6944; PII: 127
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics in Perspective
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 16; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1422-6944
Research Org:
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, VA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
43 PARTICLE ACCELERATORS; Claus Rode; Dana Arenius; Venkatarao Ganni; William Chronis; David Kashy; Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility; JLab; US National Laboratories; cryogenic engineering; Central Helium Liquefier
OSTI Identifier: