Ballston Spa, NY
MTECH Laboratories, LLC
Advanced Engineering, Research, and Development
MTECH’s core expertise is a field pioneered by its founders, namely CryoPower. This novel technological approach enables devices that are not possible using conventional devices and techniques, and offers higher efficiencies, increased speeds, reduced size and weight, and higher reliabilities for various applications.
What is CryoPower?
MTECH researchers have identified a number of power devices whose performance improves when operated at low temperatures. These devices are marketed and distributed through MTECH’s distributor, CryoCircuits LLC.
Cryogenic power electronics (CryoPower) involves combining superconducting and low-temperature semiconducting components, leading to extraordinary devices and applications not possible at room temperature. These new devices have the potential of revolutionizing the way energy is managed, distributed, and stored. The technology will potentially enable the next generation of spacecraft, ships, aircraft, and datacenters, making them more energy efficient, lightweight, and environmentally friendly – important for future generations.
MTECH custom designed CryoPower Inverter
Cryogenics and CryoPower
To get optimum performance in CryoPower systems requires careful integration of the cryogenics subsystem. There are several choices for cryogenic platforms, including conduction cooling (liquid or gas circulated through a heat exchanger) and bath cooling using direct contact with cold liquids or gases.
Bath cooling requires a reservoir or dewar. Conduction cooling can be accomplished with a cryo-cooler or high-pressure cooled helium gas. Conduction cooling has many advantages in portable applications, but can be difficult to implement. Bath cooling is appropriate in a static, fixed environment. CryoPower works best at liquid nitrogen temperatures or lower.
Helium vs. Nitrogen
There are various types of superconductors, power electronic devices, and cryogenic electronic elements, each having their optimal operating temperatures. Refrigeration systems and cryo-coolers can operate over a range of temperatures, typically from 77K (liquid nitrogen) to 4.2K (liquid helium), or lower. As a consequence, one usually operates near practical liquefaction points (where common fluids can be used for testing rather than a relatively inefficient cryo-cooler). Special refrigeration (dilution refrigerators) must be used to reach temperatures far below 4.2K. Also, as nature would have it, the most popular LTS superconducting material (NiTi) operates well at 4.2K. The high temperature materials of choice can be operated at 77K, but work better the lower the temperature.
Custom Cryogenic Solutions
MTECH can design and assemble complete, custom, turnkey cryogenic systems for specific needs of customers, particularly complex prototypes. MTECH utilizes cryo-coolers, bath cooling, or whatever is optimal for the application.
MTECH has a highly experienced staff of cryogenic, mechanical, electrical, and software engineers and engineering physicists capable of spanning a broad range of applications. There are many novel ways of combining CryoPower and superconductivity in cryogenic packages, and MTECH’s core expertise addresses these.
Cryogenic Power Systems Application
Cryogenic power systems can be used in numerous applications:
Superconducting Digital Computing
Conventional digital computing relies on the generation and identification of binary 1’s and 0’s, which are represented by voltages. In conventional computers, 1’s and 0’s are generated by using paired switches to connect circuit nodes to either a power supply or to ground, respectively.
Superconducting digital computing, on the other hand, utilizes small superconducting interference devices (SQUIDS) to store a 1 or 0 state by sensing a single magnetic flux quantum in the SQUID loop, and the state is read out as an extremely narrow voltage pulse.
Superconducting digital computers hold the promise of reduced energy consumption (40 times lower, including refrigeration) and at least 5 times the overall performance. MTECH has a working relationship with several universities and companies in this field.
MTECH CryoPower Systems in Computing
MTECH’s cryogenic power conversion technologies can be used to power large-scale, enterprise-class datacenters in the 10 to 100MW level, leading to higher power transmission and distribution efficiencies. But they can also be applied at the server and computer level and in communications systems to deliver power to the processors and computer chips at unprecedented efficiencies.
However, really revolutionary results can be achieved by also cooling the load – by combining cryogenic power conversion with cryogenic computers, be they cryogenic CMOS-based, superconducting classical computers, or quantum computers.
Quantum Computing and the Future
Quantum computing is a revolutionary new means of performing certain types of calculations, as well as processing data and information, and involves a mixture of states between a “1” and a “-1.” This is contrasted by classical computing which use fixed binary numbers (either a “1” or a “0,” with nothing in-between). The mixed states used in quantum computers are derived from quantum mechanical phenomena. This unit of information is called a qubit.
While there are many forms of quantum computing, one superconducting version relies on Josephson Junctions (superconductor-insulator-superconductor interfaces) embedded in miniature resonators, in which qubits are formed, excited, and manipulated by microwaves.
Because of the extreme sensitivity to thermal noise and the superconducting materials used, superconducting quantum computing must be performed at ultra-low temperatures – just a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero.
Current Progress in New York State
Several NY State-based companies are currently engaged in groundbreaking work in superconducting computers. One of the more prominent examples is IBM’s Watson Research Center. MTECH is collaborating with many of the players in quantum computing and SQUID computing.
MRI and Related Technologies
MRI continues to move forward, utilizing higher magnetic fields, more compact fields, and open geometries to address the needs of the medical community.
Areas of interest to MTECH include low-noise preamplifiers, gradient systems, magnets, and ancillary equipment.
Food Quality Control via NMR
Nuclear magnetic resonance, which detects the responses of different types of magnetically polarized materials to an external perturbation (RF frequency), can be used to detect the amount of water, sugar, fat, spoilage, or other constituents of foods, and can therefore be used to determine the quality of various types of foods, safely and non-invasively.
Homogeneous Magnetics for Medical Imaging
MTECH has the experience and facilities to design and manufacture both superconducting and non-superconducting MRI magnets.
Superconductivity can be used in a variety of other novel applications. Some examples are given below.
High-powered free-electron lasers (FELs) utilize superconducting resonant cavities to form magnetic structures used to change the course of high-speed electrons traveling near the speed of light, thereby accelerating the electrons in transverse directions and releasing highly coherent photons (laser light).
Novel weapons detection systems use NMR techniques to detect explosive materials, biological contaminants, and other potentially harmful materials.
Besides maglev trains, principles of magnetic levitation can be used in a variety of other applications, including non-contact magnetic bearings, pointing devices, and low-thermal loss storage systems for cryogenic fuels.