Low Temperatures

ILL provides 64 cryostats, 17 cryofurnaces, 8 special sample sticks and 12 3He and dilution refrigerators.

Cernox, RhFe and Pt100 thermometers

Since 2007, we have calibrated and installed more than 400 Cernox and RhFe sensors. For each cryostat, cryofurnace, cryomagnet, 3He and dilution refrigerator, the calibration data file to be uploaded to the temperature controller is available from the cryostat web page. A curve is also displayed for convenience.


ILL has been operating a He recovery system since 1973 and efforts are continusouly madeto minimise the losses.

All requests for liquid helium should be made at least 48 hours in advance. Please arrange with your Local Contact to order your helium. If you are not familiar with transferring liquid helium between dewar and cryostat, please do not hesitate to call for assistance from your Local Contact or directly from the Low-Temperature Laboratory.

Temperature Controllers

The replacement of the ILL temperature controllers (called ILLSEC) with LakeShore Model 340 controllers was completed in 2010. Because of the lack of heating power available, Kepco ATE power amplifiers are plugged between the LakeShore and the cryostats. For setting the controller, we invite you to read our procedures [Learn more...]. LakeShore stopped the manufacture of the Model 340 and we look for its replacement.

Dry and Wet Cryostats

In order to simplify the use of the cryostats and decrease the liquid helium consumption, we have built four 2K cryostats for Eulerian cradles and dry (i.e. cryogen-free) Orange cryostats for a few instruments. The 2K cryogen-free cryostats are used on D9, D10 and D19. On high-performance instruments, the dry option is much too slow and efforts are being made to boost the speed of the wet Orange cryostats whilst keeping their stability and base temperature.

Dilution Refrigerators

We have built several 40 mK dilution inserts designed to be used inside ILL variable temperature inserts of wet Orange cryostats and cryomagnets. We now look for financial support to upgrade the ageing gas handling systems.