Development of New Advanced Technologies for Helium Recovery,Purification and Liquefaction,adapted to Hospitals(MRIs,MEGs) and Research Centers
Spain (IFMSA-SPAIN)-University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza
Biophysics and Medical Physics
Condensed Matter Physics, Faculty of Sciences, University of Zaragoza
Dr. Juan Jose Mazo
Dr. Conrado Rillo, Dr. Javier Sese, Dr. Pilar lozano
English or Spanish
4 weeks
Cities/Months Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Augt Sep Oct Nov Dec
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Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines (MRI) as well as Magneto-encephalography apparatus need Liquid Helium (LHe) to refrigerate their respective superconducting devices. Those special devices are: i) superconducting magnets to generate the necessary magnetic field on the MRI, and, ii) SQUID magnetometers to detect the magnetic activity of the human brains by the MEG. Said machines, specially the MEGs, may consume up to 12 Liters/Day of LHe each. Helium is a very expensive and a very scarce element in Earth. In its liquid form, at atmospheric pressure, it is permanently boiling at -269 C. Thus, in the absence of recovery systems, the evaporated He gas coming from the LHe boil off occurring on the MRI or on the MEG machines, is lost forever in the atmosphere. The research group has invented and licensed to Quantum Design Inc. (, a new, simple and efficient technology for He recovery and liquefaction, specially adapted to hospitals.
What is the aim of the project?
Develop very simple and user friendly He Recovery, Purification and Liquefaction systems for MRIs and MEGs.
What techniques and methods are used?
Advanced Technology Liquefiers (ATL) Advanced Technology Purifiers (ATP) Direct Helium Recovery (DHR) Medium Pressure Helium Recovery Plants (MP-HRP) High Pressure Helium Recovery Plants (HP-HRP) Vacuum pumps and compressors. Cryogenic Technologies in general.
What is the role of the student?
- If the project includes “lab work”
- the student will take active part in the practical aspect of the project
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
After the initial background formation the student will be incorporated to the group in very specific tasks - mainly related with the improvement of Direct Recovery from our own NMR machines used for Chemistry. From his own experience he will contribute to analyze the impact of the technology on hospital MRIs and MEGs and therefore - on health. For that he will have access to the information provided by customers that have already incorporated the ATL and Direct Recovery technology in their hospitals and research centers. the student will contribute to the periodic internal reports. When there is information that can be disclosed there may be posters and papers as outcome. The student will get theoretical and experimental skills on Cryogenics, Liquid Helium, Low Temperatures, Superconductivity, SQUID magnetometers, NMR, as well as some background on MRI and MEG fundamental Physics and their use for medical diagnostics.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
The student will receive a theoretical background by means of seminars and lectures.
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a poster
- The student will prepare a scientific report
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
The student shall preferable be familiar with Radiology, Biophysics. The student will have to
sign a confidentiality document, since he will have access to information protected under
contracts with companies.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Liability insurance needed
Type of students accepted
This project accepts:
- Medical students
- Graduated students (less than 6 months)
- Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
- Helium-Recovery Plant. US2013/0104597 A1. May 2; 2013
- Gas Liquefaction System And Method. US2013/0192273 A1. Aug. 1; 2013.
- Liquefier With Pressure-Controlled Liquefaction Chamber. US2013/0014517 A1. Jan. 17; 2013.
- Helium Cryogenics; Springer; 2012; ISBN 978-1-4419-9978-8.
- The Art of Cryogencis; Elsevier; 2008; ISBN 978-0-08-044479-6.