ActivelyCooled: A New Cryogen-Free Technology for NMR

Oxford Instruments and Varian, Inc. Announce a World First in NMR Technology


Oxford Instruments Superconductivity and Varian, Inc. announced a world first in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology with the launch of the revolutionary range of ActivelyCooled(TM) NMR magnets, jointly developed and tested by the two companies. The breakthrough was announced at the Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference (ENC) in Monterey, California, which is the major annual meeting for NMR scientists.

The new ActivelyCooled(TM) 400-600 MHz NMR magnets now include helium recondensing technology, which addresses NMR's traditional dependency on maintaining levels of liquid cryogens. This means that NMR will now be accessible to a wider user base that either do not have cost-effective access to the necessary cryogens or the on-site logistics necessary to support the constant cryogen handling needed for re-filling conventional systems.

ActivelyCooled(TM) NMR systems also offer savings in cost of ownership by removing system 'downtime' associated with refilling cryogens and are significantly more compact as there is no need for a separate nitrogen vessel.

The ActivelyCooled(TM) technology developed by Oxford Instruments includes a Pulse Tube Refrigerator (PTR) optimised to the cooling power requirements of NMR. PTR technology offers a cold section that has no moving parts, which is crucial for NMR applications since it means that there is minimal vibration. In addition, all moving components are at room temperature and therefore easily maintained.

The design of the ActivelyCooled(TM) NMR magnets has also been optimised so that the PTR can be serviced efficiently, ensuring the minimum of down time with service intervals being potentially up to 24 months. In addition, the cryostat is capable of maintaining its magnetic field for up to 12 hours in the event of power failure, preventing excessive service costs in the event of an outage.

The ActivelyCooled(TM) NMR magnets further extend the range of highly successful systems, which all offer high sensitivity and proven technology for NMR. Varian, Inc. and Oxford Instruments intend to expand the ActivelyCooled(TM) range of systems by incorporating other devices, such as cold probes, into the technology.

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