A recent Physics Today issue had an interesting article on the difficulties researchers continue to have with the volatile prices of liquid helium (LHe). The article noted the steps some have taken to reduce the impact: Large universities are operating centralized helium recovery and liquefaction plants, and others have enrolled in an LHe purchasing program set up by the American Physical Society, American Chemical Society, and U.S. Defense Logistics Agency.
Also mentioned is the use of recirculating “dry” cryogenic systems in place of “wet” (open cycle) cryogenic systems. Lake Shore offers both dry and wet types of cryogenic probe stations, along with cryogenic temperature monitors. The closed-cycle refrigeration (CCR) based stations eliminate the ongoing operating expense of liquid cryogens.
However, going to a CCR-based dry system is not an option for many researchers, including those who already own a standard probe station and are not in a position to upgrade to a dry system. If you are one of these users, there are things you can do to help minimize LHe consumption, as covered in more detail in this new user forum post.
(Incidentally, if you have your own question that you would like answered, please don’t hesitate to register and post it in the forum. We will do our best to answer, and if your question is specific to a narrow area of research, our greater user community may have tips, advice, and application examples of their own to provide to the discussion.)