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Science

Cryogenics and science

Cryoconnect is a specialist division of Tekdata's Interconnect Systems, and deals solely with cabling and interconnection solutions in cryogenic systems.

Cryoconnect offer organised cryogenic wiring systems with your choice of:

  • Wire types, co-axial cable, optical fibre woven into convenient, high strength aramid looms
  • Terminations encapsulated for added strength and reliability (e.g. connectors, PCB's & wiring feedthroughs)
  • Wire configuration (e.g. twisted pairs, triples & quads which can be interleaved with shield wires, or have selective shields in different sizes and types by design)
  • Thermal and electrical properties can be determined through our design and support
  • Vacuum feed-throughs employing conventional hermetic connectors, or our hermetic Cryoconnect wiring feed-throughs

Cryoconnect deals solely with cabling and interconnection solutions within cryogenic systems. Whether you require high volumes or complex one-off cables, we are able to work closely with you to design and supply highly reliable solutions for all your cryogenic cabling needs.

Cryoconnect looms and cable assemblies are robust, flexible, easy to install and heat sink. They are available in any length and can include discrete wiring with breakouts programmed into the weaving to address discrete components and thermometry. Braided shielding in stainless steel and other metals can also be designed.

Materials: Geometries & characteristics

A Cryoconnect cable is a collection of wires and/or pre-made cables organised into an easy to handle and very strong planar structure using high strength aramid fibres. As well as utilising resistance wires, we can configure cable assemblies with a wide range of cable types including twisted pairs, triples and quads, with and without individual shields, co-axial cable and optical fibre.

Cryoconnect technology allows us to integrate within a single ribbon structure, primary wires and a wide range of pre-made cables of different types and diameters. This flexibility is unique and critical in reducing cable and connector count in complex systems. Controlling the geometry of our resistance wires we can also provide looms with many different configurations. As an example, we can configure twisted pairs with adjacent pairs twisted with LH and RH twists to minimise cross-talk and de-couple stray capacitance in adjacent pairs. Parallel wires or wires in a sinusoidal weave can be supplied for high speed applications. Ground wires may also be inserted between signal wires to control cross-talk.

In critical applications the separation of adjacent conductors may also be varied to allow control of the complex impedance of the loom. Controlling the impedance and bandwidth of resistance wires within the complicated geometry, installed in a metal cryostat, is not simple. In critical applications our experience and ability to make trial looms to generate test data allows us to create the final application designs with the desired characteristics. Cryoconnect is used in dilution refrigerators, cryogenic systems, superconducting magnet systems, low temperature detector systems, infrared array systems, and general housekeeping on cryogenic systems of all scales.

Typical wire materials
Phosphor Bronze   -   Nb/Ti with cupro-nickel coating   -   Stainless steel   -   Constantan   -   Manganin   -   Phosphor bronze   -   Brass   -   Aluminium   -   Copper
S1 coax (often woven into looms along with twisted pairs of resistance wires)
Single or multiple twisted pairs inside braided shields of stainless steel or constantan

Typical Insulation materials
Polyester enamel   -   Pyre ML   -   PFA   -   FEP   -   FPI 205   -   PTFE   -   Kapton

We can also provide a range of additional insulations for both dielectrics and cable jackets upon request

Cryoconnect has developed methods to minimise thermo-electric voltages; these vary dependent upon the application.

Connectors & terminations
Connectors vary from single pins to the ultra-miniature Nanonics connectors, MDM micro D types, sub-miniature D types, circular military style, co-axial connectors and Cryoconnect project specific designs. In certain configurations hermetic and RF filtered connectors are available.

Feedthroughs which allow wires to pass though a vacuum wall without the electrical and financial costs associated with additional connectors.

  • PCB transition boards and custom miniature connectors (e.g. for thermometry installation eliminating the need for a 'super harness) provide designers with additional flexibility.
  • Heatsinks: In most applications heat sinking of wiring is important to avoid excess heat leak into the cryogenic system. Cryoconnect looms are easy to heat sink by wrapping the looms around cooling posts, installing along the length of support or vent tubes, or via purpose built heat sinks which we can build and install on your looms. Careful heat sinking is required where wires are expected to become super conducting, or at ultra low temperatures where boundary resistance effects may make adequate heat sinking more difficult.
  • RF filtering: Usually for cost effective RF filtering we recommend using RF filtered connectors with integral ground planes. In high connection count applications (e.g. hundreds of wires) the use of custom PCBs with appropriate RF filters and ground planes with PCB compatible connectors terminating the Cryoconnect cables are appropriate. We also directly connect high density ribbons directly to PCBs using a variety of methods to relieve strain and secure.

Nano connectors in application
We specialise in terminating high wire and shield counts into miniature connectors. In the example shown the six 51 pin nano connectors have 450 signals on 150 manganin triples and 42 separate stainless steel braided shields.

Installation of Cryoconnect looms into systems
The use of woven looms to organise your wiring solution allows shear across the loom which makes installation in systems with complex geometry easy. Installation is simple around or within tubes, bends and conical shaped sections. Minimum radii for the looms can be as low as 3mm, depending upon wire diameter and insulation type.

Heat sinking the looms by wrapping on exhaust tubes for liquid cryogenic systems, the tubes of GM, or pulsed tube coolers is easy. In-system designs where electronics are required to be "opened up" any extra length required may easily be taken up by working 'fan-folds' into the loom.

Additional capabilities

Thermal design
Design support is available to calculate the heat leaks of your cryoconnect cables, taking into account the contribution of the heat leaks due to high current in resistive wires

Magnetic fields
For operation in highly magnetic fields (up to 5T) ,we recommend manganin, evanohm and annealed stainless steel for low magneto resistance and magnetic attractiveness

High Currents
Occasionally, rather than measuring voltages or injecting low currents, relatively high currents are needed into cryogenic systems (e.g. to drive motors and magnets). This necessitates limiting the self heating in the wiring, combined with minimising the passive heat leak down the wiring.

The Wiederman-Franz law relates to the thermal conductivity of a wire to its electrical conductivity and solutions using resistance wire, or a good electrical conductor such as copper or silver, to give a low impedance for low self heating, which will give similar passive (no current) heat leaks. In this situation, cable design needs to take into account various factors including duty cycle, whether the system is cooled with liquid cryogen's whereby the enthalpy of the cold gas may be available to cool the wires, and whether hybrid solutions with high or low Tc superconductors can be used. For more information, following this link: The Wiederman-Franz law.

Thermal conductivity is the property of a material describing its ability to conduct heat. I t appears primarily in Fourier's Law for heat conduction. Thermal conductivity is measured in watts per Kelvin-meter or in IP units. The following paper provides information on the thermal conductance at millikelvin temperatures of woven ribbon cable with phosphor-bronze clad superconducting wires. Download Here>.

The information and data provided is as a general guide for designing Cryoconnect cryogenic cables and harness assemblies and to provide our clients with details of the wide range of possibilities that Cryoconnect looms may provide.


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