Novel Cryostat

Engineers at STFC has developed and patented a cryostat with a rotatable mounting which allows the probing beam during spectroscopy experiments to remain static while rotating the sample. The rotating mechanism provides high precision which other non-static mounts fail at.







A cryostat is a vessel which allows a sample to be maintained at a very low temperature, for example, temperatures less than 0° C. The sample may then be subjected to experimentation in the cryostat at the very low temperature. The sample is placed on a sample holder or sample plate which is usually cooled to low temperatures by boiling a low temperature liquid into a gas. In addition to cooling the sample, it is also often possible to manoeuvre the position of the sample in the cryostat by rotating the sample plate, which is desirable in spectroscopy experiments.


The new cryostat comprises a hypoid gear arrangement with a very high gear ratio (around 50:1) and the drive shaft is coupled via flexible shaft couplings directly to the drive mechanism without any further gear interfaces. This combined with the hypoid gear's inherently low backlash drastically reduces play in the drive system, which is a major drawback of other rotatable cryostat mechanisms.


Further, as the thermal conductor connecting the coolant tank and sample plate extends through the aperture, the length of the thermal conductor can be decreased compared with previous designs. This improves the performance of the device, by allowing the sample plate to be cooled to a lower temperature, and to be cooled more quickly. Having the conductor and temperature sensing means positioned along the axis of the rotatable mounting, and connected to the underside of the sample plate, means that associated wires and cables are less likely to become entangled with each other. In addition, the distance between the sample plate and the cooling gas tank in which the cooling gas is boiled is reduced, and this improves the cooling efficacy of the cryostat.



  • High gear ratio of Hypoid gear system reduces play.
  • Axial and shorter connections between sample and coolant tank improves efficiency.



  • High precision rotation
  • Improved cooling efficiency and reduced cooling times.



  • Cryogenics
  • Spectroscopy systems
Patent Information:
Country Serial No.
United States 11/718958
United Kingdom 708780.2
For Information, Contact:
Elizabeth Bain
IP Manager
STFC Innovations
+44 (0) 1925 60 3680
03.c. Apparatus Engineering
05.b. Chemistry
05.f. Physics
05.f2 Light Sources
05.l. Cryogenics & Cryostats