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NASA Goddard Cryogenics Branch

Picture Descriptions, Cryo Home Page

Large Pictures on Top Row

Here are descriptions of the three images on our Homepage, left to right.

Paramagnetic Crystals

This photo shows some of the paramagnetic (weakly magnetic) crystals that the branch is studying for possible use in magnetic coolers. Some are a bright, translucent yellow. One is a translucent purple. One is clear. Two are opaque, one black with a greenish tinge, the other pink.

Branch Logo

Our branch logo is a cold version of the photo of Robert Goddard posing with his first liquid fueled rocket. For our logo, a polar bear (a symbol of cold) has replaced Goddard.

Dilution Refrigerator

This picture shows a closeup of a liquid helium dilution refrigerator. This is a standard type of cooler used for temperatures within a degree of absolute zero. At the bottom of the picture is a round metal plate, about 10 inches in diameter, that serves as the base for the rest of the haradware that you see. This plate is shiny and gold-colored. It may have a micro-thin layer of actual gold plated on it, to help keep it from corroding. Mounted on the center of the plate is another shiny circular plate, about 5 inches in diameter and an inch or 2 thick. Some supports, about 2 or 3 inches tall, rise from this second plate, supporting other hardware that extends out the top of the picture

Several other small components are mounted on the main base plate, some of them black or golden or both. There is a also a connector on the base plate with white and red and black wires rising from it. There are lots of wires running to various components.

Small Pictures, Lower Row

Two of these pictures, the first and last, show summer students working with storage tanks for liquid cryogens (liquid helium and liquid nitrogen.) The pictures show plumes of "steam" coming from the storage tanks. Actually, the "steam" is more like "fog", because it's condensation caused by the cooling of the air from the cold gas coming out of the tanks.

The second picture shows a Code 552 scientist adjusting a magnetic cooler mounted in a cryostat. You can see a coil of copper-colored wire that provides the magnetic field for the cooler.

The third photo is a closeup of the apparatus shown in the second photo.

The fourth photo shows a cryogenics branch technician looking through a stereo microscope, working on components so tiny that he needs the microscope to see them well enough.

The fifth photo shows the same technician holding a coil of copper-colored wire which he has wound, a coil very much like the ones in photos 2 and 3.