College of Engineering, Design & Computing Events

Dear Colleague Letter: Cryogenics below 1 K - Systems, Cycle, and Materials

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30 April | Dear Colleague Letter: Cryogenics below 1 K - Systems, Cycle, and Materials


The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Engineering (ENG) and Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS) invite the submission of Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER)* proposals to focus on new approaches to refrigeration at <1K, materials needed to enable ultra-low temperature refrigeration, and new processing techniques needed to fabricate these new types of refrigeration systems. Potential area of research include:

  • New refrigeration approaches and cycles that do not use 3He and are capable of cooling to <1K with significant cooling power
  • Understanding of the thermodynamics of disruptive, ultra-low temperature cooling concepts
  • New means of active and passive thermal control, including solid-state thermal switches with high switching ratios below 4K.
  • Discovery of new materials central to new modes of refrigeration, such as materials that have controlled large entropy changes near 0K or provide active cooling.
  • New processes that address the need for high precision manufacture and surface finish in complex geometries for low temperature applications
  • New materials for the construction of vacuum technology useful at these low temperatures

Submission of EAGER proposals in response to this DCL is by invitation only; the process is initiated by the submission of a Research Concept Outline (RCO) describing the proposed high–risk / high–reward project that addresses this challenge. The RCO must clearly describe the idea with a clear explanation of why it is innovative, potentially transformative, or otherwise potentially impactful. RCOs are strictly limited in length to 2 pages, including references, plus a half-page justification of proposed budget, for a total of 2.5 pages. All correspondence, inquiries and RCOs must be via email to one of the Program Directors.