Vital research has continued at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France thanks to a constant supply of liquid helium from SIAD.

The IJCLab physics laboratory at CNRS reached out to SIAD during the coronavirus crisis to ensure that it could still receive a constant supply of the gas, which is a fundamental element for the operation of highly advanced technologies.

“For some years we have been engaged in a number of physical experiments on neutrinos with a team of American, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian and Italian scientists in underground laboratories,” explained Andrea Giuliani, Research Director of the IJCLab at CNRS.

“Our centres are in Gran Sasso, between France and Spain, under the Pyrenees and, again in France, in Modane, under the Alps.”

“The goal of our research is to identify very rare nuclear processes 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 very close to absolute zero,” Giuliani said.

“The system therefore needs liquid helium, a gas that assists with this temperature reduction process.”

In March, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent interruption of many production activities, the research centre’s supply was interrupted.

“It was essential for us to find a source of supply capable of ensuring continuity as we had reached the final stage of the research,” Giuliani said.

“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.”