Companies to work on R&D vibration-free cooling for Einstein Telescope

20 February 2024

The two companies Demcon kryoz from Enschede and Cooll from Hengelo will receive money together with the University of Twente to develop an advanced cooling system for the Einstein Telescope.

The Limburg development fund LIOF announced this. The three partners will receive 2.6 million euros over a period of three years. The money comes from the R&D scheme for the Einstein Telescope, funded by the Dutch National Growth Fund.

The project focuses on a vibration-free cooling system for the underground detector. This should achieve very low temperatures to enable accurate measurements of gravitational waves from the universe.

The Twente consortium will develop a three-stage cooling system. This works with different coolants: neon, hydrogen and helium to take the final step from liquid nitrogen temperature (192 degrees below zero) to minus 263 degrees.

Eventually they will build three of them, one for research at the UT in Enschede and two for the ETpathfinder, the new R&D lab for gravity waves in Maastricht.

The technique of vibration-free cooling is already known and even applied, but never before on the large scale of the Einstein Telescope, an underground dry-angle system with lasers and vacuum tunnels measuring ten by ten by ten kilometers.

In a response, outgoing science minister Robbert Dijkgraaf expressed his delight at the collaboration between Dutch companies and a knowledge institution such as the University of Twente. “It shows how joining forces can lead to groundbreaking discoveries and innovation,” Dijkgraaf said.

The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are preparing a bid book for the construction of the Einstein Telescope in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion in the border region. Nikhef is partner in the preparations.