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Liquid Helium for physics studies in France: SIAD supplies the National Centre for Scientific Research - CNRS

11 May 2020

SIAD_rifornisce_elio_liquido_centro_nazionale_ricerca_scientificaEnsuring continuity of supply for an innovative physics experiment, even during an emergency, thanks to the constant supply of liquid helium. The  IJCLab physics laboratory at the University of Paris-Saclay’s national scientific research center turned to SIAD to ensure that, despite the crisis, it could receive a constant supply of this special gas, a fundamental element for the operation of highly advanced technologies. From SIAD's Osio Sopra filling station to the LSM laboratory in Modane, France, prompt deliveries of liquid helium from the end of March have allowed the establishment to continue with its vital research and progress to the final stage. 

“For some years we have been engaged in a number of physical experiments on  neutrinos – explains Andrea Giuliani, research director of the IJCLab-CNRS – with a team of American, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian and Italian scientists. Our centers are in Gran Sasso, between France and Spain, under the Pyrenees and, again in France, in Modane, under the Alps”. The activities take place in underground laboratories. “The goal of our research is to identify very rare nuclear processes  - he continues - which above ground would be masked by cosmic radiation and ordinary radioactivity. The rock provides a shield so that underground we have what we technically call “radioactive silence”, a condition that allows us to identify the physical processes that are the subject of our research”. Allied to this activity is a highly innovative technology: “The detectors we use have to reach very low temperatures - the expert explains - very close to absolute zero. The system therefore needs liquid helium, a gas that assists with this temperature reduction process”. In March, due to the Coronavirus emergency and the consequent interruption of many production activities, the research center’s supply was interrupted: “It was essential for us to find a source of supply capable of ensuring continuity – underlines the scientist - as we had reached the final stage of the research. We therefore searched among the main gas producers in France and Italy. We found SIAD to be an excellent supplier that allowed us to continue with our research, which is due to reach an important milestone in June”.

For SIAD, this is a further prestigious relationship with international institutes: “It is a source of enormous pride for us to contribute positively to this study, guaranteeing continuity even during the crisis – comments Danilo Gazzini, SIAD’s Product Manager for Specialty Gases – A prestigious partner that joins other important companies, such as Elettra Sincrotrone in Trieste and the Enea Research Center in Frascati”. To ensure the rapid delivery of gas, a specific production run was organized at the SIAD plant in Osio Sopra, one of the few filling stations in northern Italy capable of covering a large area: “All our colleagues involved in supplying this special gas – continues Gazzini – are highly specialized because specific technical knowledge is required to produce it”. We also managed to guarantee supplies of this fundamental product for research and activities in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector throughout the Covid 19 emergency.