Oxford Instruments' OptistatDry Cryofree cryostat integrated with Bruker's FTIR research spectrometers

The OptistatTMDry BLV model is a part of our Optistat family that provides a temperature controlled sample in vacuum measurement environment for spectroscopy, within a Cryofree® or cryogen free cryostat.

The OptistatDry for spectroscopy comprises a range of compact cryostats with optical access cooled by a closed cycle refrigerator. This cryogen free (Cryofree®) cryostat is a part of our high performance Optistat family and is capable of cooling samples to helium temperatures without the need for liquid cryogens. This provides significant benefits in terms of ease of use and running costs. The system enables optical and electrical measurements to be carried out on your samples.

  • Wide sample temperature range from < 3 K to 300 K
  • Typical cool-down time from ambient to 10 K in 120 minutes
  • Suitable for a wide range of experiments and different spectroscopy techniques (UV/VIS reflectivity and absorption, Raman scattering, FTIR, Fluorescence, Photoluminescence, Electrical transport measurements, Ultrafast spectroscopy, THz spectroscopy, Electroluminescence, etc.)
  • A wide range of different sample holders, windows and wiring options enable you to upgrade your system as your experimental needs develop
  • No liquid cryogens are required
  • Comes with f1 and large clear optical access as standard

Main benefits overview

The OptistatTMDry – the BLV model is designed to be:

Versatile

  • Suitable for a wide range of experiments and different spectroscopy techniques (UV/VIS reflectivity and absorption, Raman scattering, FTIR, Fluorescence, Photoluminescence, Electrical transport measurements, Ultrafast spectroscopy, THz spectroscopy, Electroluminescence, etc.)
  • Designed to interface with all types of optical benches; the feet match both Imperial (1 inch spacing) and Metric (25 mm spacing)

Upgradeable

  • Designed with a modular philosophy that allows the cryostat to evolve with your experiment, allowing you to start with a basic system and as experimental needs change, upgrade to additional functionalities at a later date, for example, add extra wiring, different sample holders and windows
  • A wide range of different sample holders, windows and wiring options enable you to upgrade your system as your experimental needs develop

Simple to use

  • Changing your sample through the unique load port is quick and simple; this eliminates the need to remove the cryostat from the optical bench and re-align your optics after each and every sample change
  • No liquid cryogens are required
  • Air or water-cooled compressors are available; single phase electrical power means the system is easy to install in all standard laboratory environments

Optical excellence

  • Comes with f1 and large clear optical access as standard
  • Has one window per optical access, a window in the OVC only; this makes the system particularly suitable for customers who need to minimise absorption losses
  • A wide range of different window materials are available to suit different wavelengths; wedged windows and anti-reflection coatings are also available 

The cooling source for the cryostat is a two-stage Gifford McMahon (GM) refrigerator supplied by Sumitomo Heavy Industries (the RDK-101D cold head and HC-4 compressor). The sample cools through a direct conductive thermal path to the second stage of the refrigerator. The first stage of the refrigerator is used to cool a radiation shield which minimises the radiative heat load to the second stage of the refrigerator and to the sample region.

The lower tail section of the cryostat (the window block) has been designed so that it is easy to remove and replace the sample mounting platform, once the cryostat has been warmed to room temperature (cooler switched off) and the cryostat vacuum let up to atmospheric pressure. The sample mounting platform has two main variants. The first is a simple nickel plated copper blade platform suited to optical experiments, with no or limited electrical measurement requirements. The second is a circuit board style platform (puck) suited to combined optical/electrical transport experiments.

Specifications

Key specifications for the cryogen free OptistatDry – the BLV model are:

  • Wide sample temperature range from < 3 K to 300 K
  • Typical cool-down time from ambient to 10 K in 120 minutes
  • Water-cooled and air-cooled compressors available
  • Low vibration when used in conjunction with the optional stand, typically less than 10 micrometers RMS
  • Large sample space enables studies of samples with a wide range of different geometries and sizes
  • Low running costs
  • Optimised optical access with f1 and a clear view of 28 mm diameter allows a large illumination area for measurements involving the detection of low intensity light

Applications

Typical applications supported by the OptistatDry – the BLV model are:

UV/Visible spectroscopy Experiments at low temperatures reveal the interaction between the electronic energy levels and vibrational modes in solids
Infrared spectroscopy Low temperature IR spectroscopy is used to measure changes in interatomic vibrational modes as well as other phenomena, such as the energy gap in a superconductor below its transition temperature
Raman spectroscopy Lower temperatures result in narrower lines associated with the observed Raman excitations
Photoluminescence At low temperatures, spectral features are sharper and more intense, thereby increasing the amount of information available
Electrical properties Optical and electrical measurements including I-V curves

 

Sample holder and wiring options for OptistatDry – the BLV model

Sample holder and wiring options

There are currently two options available depending on your experimental needs:

The Optistat™Dry comes complete with its own built-in diagnostic wiring, heater and sensor, which are wired to a 15 way micro D-type connector mounted on the room temperature connector flange of the cryostat.

Sample holder options  

Standard sample holder for optical measurements

These sample holders are ideal for optical measurements with no or limited electrical measurement requirements. They are made from nickel plated copper. The DRYRSH is best suited to reflection measurements. It provides a flat surface 30 mm x 30 mm to mount your sample. The DRYTSH is best suited to reflection measurements. It provides a 15 mm clear diameter hole and a clamp plate to secure your sample.

Wiring Options:

Experimental wiring can also be chosen as an option with the standard sample holders. This consists of a 21 way micro D-type connector mounted on the room temperature connector flange of the cryostat, wired in twisted pairs with 20 wires (18 constantan and 2 copper) to a cold electrical connector mounted just above the sample holder position. Mating connectors for the cold and room temperature connectors are provided as standard.

       DRYRSH                                              DRYTSH

Puck-style sample holder for opto-electrical measurements (patent pending)

The sample puck provides 12 DC connections near the sample. The design has been optimised to give reliable electrical connections for your experiments and excellent thermal anchoring with the minimum number of thermal interfaces. These features result in a superior solution compared to leadless chip carrier and PLCC sockets.

The puck sample holder consists of a 21 way micro D-type connector hermetically sealed into the room temperature connector flange of the cryostat. This is wired with 6 twisted pairs (10 constantan and 2 copper wires) to a copper blade, which incorporates sprung loaded probe pins designed for DC applications.

The pucks themselves are made from a copper laminated PCB composite. When fitted to the sample holder and the screws tightened, electrical and thermal connections are made.

Wiring:

The puck style sample holders (DRYPUCK12R and DRYPUCK12T) are made from a ceramic filled PTFE composite, laminated with 35 µm thick copper on both sides. The copper has an ‘ENIG’ surface finish which is an electroless nickel layer, capped with a thin layer of immersion gold. It is a suitable for soldering and aluminium wire bonding. The gold surface acts as a good thermal contact and protects the underlying nickel from oxidation/passivation.

 

Accessories for OptistatDry – the BLV model

MercuryiTC temperature controller

The MercuryiTC temperature controller is ideally suited to monitor and control the OptistatDry. It has one PID loop to read the sensor and control the heater mounted on the cryostat. It is very easy to operate from the touch screen user interface. You can connect to the Mercury iTC via multiple interfaces: Ethernet, USB or GPIB (optional).

                                                                                                For further details about the MerucryiTC, click here.

Window options

We offer a wide range of window options to suit your experimental needs, covering wavelengths from UV all the way to the extreme IR. The OptistatDry only needs one window per access (i.e. a window in the outer vacuum case) minimising absorption losses

For further details about the available window options, click here.

 

 

 

Vacuum pump options

The OptistatDry needs to be pumped to a pressure of 10-4 mbar before it is cooled down. It needs to be re-pumped every time the sample is changed. A dry turbo pump is recommended for this, the H4-600 and H4-601 are both ideal for the OptistatDry. The H4-601 comes with a vacuum gauge making it easier to know when the cryostat has been pumped down sufficiently to start cooling.

 

 

 

 

 

DryLoad vacuum pick up tool

The DryLoad is a vacuum pick up tool designed to make the loading and unloading of the pucks simple.

 

 

 

 

OptistatDry spares kit

The spares kit includes all the tools needed to install and maintain your system including tools for fitting the helium compressor lines; screw drivers for the screws used on the system; replacement o-rings; and screws for the regularly accessed parts.

 

 

 

DRYLXCC cryostat cable

3 metre long cryostat cable for OptistatDry, includes one 21 way micro D-type connector for connection to the cryostat and flying lead with 20 wires (10 twisted pairs) for your experimental wiring.

 

 

 

 

 

DRYCC1 cable

3 metre cryostat cable to connect your MercuryiTC.

 

 

 

 

 

Principle of operation

The Optistat™Dry is based on a Gifford-McMahon (GM) Cryocooler. The major components in the cooling system are the cold head (Sumitomo RDK-101D), the compressor (either water or air-cooled) and high pressure lines. They form the basis of a sealed circuit containing helium gas which is used as the cooling medium. The cold head is where the Gifford-McMahon refrigeration cycle takes place. It is connected to a compressor by two gas lines and an electrical power cable. One of the gas lines supplies high pressure helium gas to the cold head, the other gas line returns low pressure helium gas to the compressor. The compressor provides the necessary helium gas flow rate at the high and low pressure for the cold head to convert into the desired cooling power at the first and second stages of the cold head.


 

How-to videos for OptistatDry – the BLV model

 

How-to videos have been created to demonstrate how to operate the system from set up to changing your sample.

To watch our how-to videos, click here

Downloads and further information

Application notes

NEW: OptistatDry Cryofree cryostat integrated with Bruker's Vertex FTIR research spectrometers – click here to download

Efficient electrical nanodevice characterisation  – click here to download

Measuring resistance of a high temperature superconducting sample  – click here to download

Measuring ultrafast transient absorption spectra at cryogenic temperatures  – click here to download
 
Low temperature photolysis studies of vitamin B12  – click here to download
 
 

Why purchase a cryogen free OptistatDry

OptistatDry - the cryogen free optical cryostat for spectroscopy

An ever growing number of institutes are choosing Cryofree® or cryogen free optical cryostats such as the OptistatDry. These decisions are driven by a number of important factors. Use the following online cost calculator to find out the annual saving you can have, simply by switching over to a Cryofree OptistatDry:

Just answer the following question to discover how much you could save by making the switch today:

1. What is your current cost per litre of liquid cryogen?

2. Typically, how many hours of experimentation per week?  HOURS

3. How many weeks in the year will your experiment be running for?  WEEKS

 

Important factors to consider

Cost of liquid cryogens

 

The cost of liquid cryogens continues to rise placing an increasing financial burden on institutes. The OptistatDry uses no liquid cryogen at all, and this could save you a substantial amount of money compared to using a wet cryostat. The calculator above can show you the saving you can have.

Availability of liquid cryogens

 

Scheduling experiments is difficult but having to factor in when you will have liquid cryogen makes it even harder. When the rate at which you can publish papers is limited by the availability of liquid cryogens, it is time to consider a cryogen free OptistatDry. As long as you have electrical power you can run cryogenic experiments 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, dramatically increasing the number of experiments you run and the amount of data you collect.

Increase your efficiency and publish more papers with an OptistatDry. 

Hazards of liquid cryogens

 The hazards of using liquid cryogens are well known and include:

  • Asphyxiation due to the displacement of air
  • Fire risk due to condensation of liquid oxygen
  • Risk of explosion due to blockage of outlets from cryogenic containers
  • Cold burns due to touching cold metal or direct contact with the liquid

These hazards can have fatal consequences, so it is important that all users of liquid cryogens make themselves aware of their local safety regulations. The OptistatDry does not use any liquid cryogens, so the hazards above do not apply to this product.

Costs of providing the facilities and safety training for liquid cryogens

The costs of running large liquefaction plant to provide an institute with liquid cryogens are high. These include the costs of running and maintaining the liquefier, and the costs of the fully trained staff to operate it.  

Less well documented are the costs and inconvenience of using liquid cryogens. Liquid cryogen storage dewars take up a large amount of floor space in the laboratory reducing the amount of space for experiments. Personal protection equipment and oxygen monitors are expensive and can be cumbersome. Ensuring everyone in the lab is trained and aware of all the relevant safety procedures can take up valuable time and limit the number of people who are able to work on these experiments. 

The OptistatDry does not use liquid cryogens so all of these costs and constraints no longer apply.


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