Use of Cryogenic RF Components

What are cryogenic components? What are the applications of cryogenic components?

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- everything RF

Mar 26, 2021

Cryogenics is the study of materials and components at very low temperatures. The cryogenic temperature range has been defined to be from 120 K (−150 °C) to absolute zero (0 K or −273 °C). Most electronic and RF components are usually designed to operate at a temperature ranging anywhere from -40 °C to +85 °C. Components need to be specially designed to operate at ultra low temperatures found in cryogenic environments.

One of the main challenges faced while designing cryogenic systems and electronics is to find components that can function at very low temperatures. In addition to this, these components should have very low power dissipation while operating. This is required so that they do not heat the system and raise its temperature above the required cryogenic temperature. At the same time, these components must also operate properly at room temperature.

The Military and satellite sectors were the main users of cryogenic components. They used them in missile systems and satellites that operate in space. However, over the last few years, the need for cryogenic components like cryogenic amplifiers, cryogenic circulators, cryogenic connectors, cable assemblies, etc. has been increasing in other sectors as well.

Applications that require cryogenic components include Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Power Transmission, in which Cryogens are used to cool the underground transmission line to reduce their resistance. Cryogenic cooling also is being used for cooling receivers in radio astronomy and on satellites to reduce their noise temperature. 

Quantum computing is another emerging sector that is highly dependent on cryogenic components. Click here to know why Quantum computing requires cryogenic components.

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