Cryophysics and vacuum physics

lphys2303  2019-2020  Louvain-la-Neuve

Cryophysics and vacuum physics
Note from June 29, 2020
Although we do not yet know how long the social distancing related to the Covid-19 pandemic will last, and regardless of the changes that had to be made in the evaluation of the June 2020 session in relation to what is provided for in this learning unit description, new learnig unit evaluation methods may still be adopted by the teachers; details of these methods have been - or will be - communicated to the students by the teachers, as soon as possible.
5 credits
30.0 h + 15.0 h
Introductory course to condensed matter physics (like LPHY1345 or MAPR1492).
Main themes

This teaching unit aims at giving students the tools to understand physical phenomena at play in high and ultra-high vacuum conditions, as well as at cryogenic temperature. It also allows them to directly experience technical aspects related to these disciplines. Applications of vacuum physics and cryophysics will be illustrated through different visits in research laboratories, and hands-on exercices, realized in the laboratory, will help them to visualize direct applications of the theory and to get used to the operation of low temperature and high vacuum production and control equipments.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


a.     Contribution of the teaching unit to the learning outcomes of the programme (PHYS2M)


AA1: AA1.2, AA1.3, AA1.4

AA2: AA2.2, AA2.3

AA5: AA5.2, AA5.3

AA6: AA6.2, AA6.3

AA7: AA7.1, AA7.2

AA8 : AA8.1


b.    Specific learning outcomes of the teaching unit


At the end of this teaching unit, the student will be able to:


1.     properly choose high vacuum and/or cryogenic production and control system, adapted to a given set of requirements ;

2.     describe the evolution of the properties of different classes of materials and of different cryogenic fluids as a function of temperature and pressure ;

3.     describe the principles, and fully design an experimental setup operating at high and ultra-high vacuum and/or low temperature, fulfilling a set of constraints ;

4.     describe and simulate the evolution of pressure inside a vacuum chamber as it is vacuum-pumped ;

5.     manipulate the main elements of an experimental setup operating at low temperature and/or high vacuum.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
  • Cryogenic fluids
  • Low temperature materials properties
  • Cryogenic systems
  • Thermometry
  • Low temperature experiments
  • Kinetic theory of gases, Boltzmann distribution, perfect and real gas
  • Molecular flow, conductance, pumping speed
  • Phase changes, vapour pressure, phenomena on the surface
  • Instruments for the production and control of high/ultra-high vacuum
Teaching methods
Lectures, hands-on sessions in the laboratory, project
Evaluation methods
Written report on the project and its oral presentation during the exam.
Lab reports.
Knowledge of the theory is tested during the exam.
M. Guisset, Technique du vide, Louvain-la-Neuve, 1992.
Transparents de l’unité d’enseignement, réalisés par les enseignant.e.s.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Physical Engineering

Master [120] in Electrical Engineering

Master [120] in Physics