The MicrostatHe optical cryostat works on a continuous flow (CF) principle using an oil-free pump to draw liquid helium from a storage vessel along a transfer tube to the heat exchanger ('pull mode'). Temperature control is achieved by a combination of manual or automatic helium flow control and power dissipated in an electrical heater, regulated using a temperature controller.

The cryostat can also be used in 'push mode', in which case the flow of liquid helium is generated by pressurising the storage dewar. The advantage is that the need for a gas flow pump is removed, eliminating the vibration and noise generated by the pump, and reducing the system cost.

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