14 Dec 2017

IsoLab designed by ADP is helping advance physics research at Lancaster University

ADP has completed one of the most advanced facilities in the world for quantum technology at the Lancaster University, doubling the University’s current research facilities.

The unique stand-alone building sits on its own massive concrete foundation, with three above-ground isolation laboratories, each contained in their own separate pod. Each laboratory enables the operation of extremely sensitive quantum systems and devices that will enable the technology of the future.

The first pod is used for nano-imaging and microscopy, the second for quantum optics, and the third is used to probe systems and devices at ultra-low temperatures.

In the basement of each pod sits a 50-ton concrete isolation block, accessible through a removable floor. Pod interiors are lined with material to shield acoustic and electromagnetic disturbance.

To achieve the low temperature within the heart of the pods, liquid helium is pumped through into experimental structures achieving temperatures close to absolute zero microkelvin.

The building is an elegant box wrapped in a brick, to complement the surrounding university buildings. A fully glazed ‘shop window’, screen and entrance door is mirrored at both ends.

Graphics on the glazing represents fluid dynamics of low temperature helium that is studied within the pods. The graphic also captures the names of donors and a dedication to a member of the research team who sadly passed away before the project could be completed.

The interior design of the building was kept deliberately simple with natural finishes covered with a transparent dust seal.

The project was made possible by funding from the University, and substantial donations from the Wolfson Foundation, the J.P. Moulton Charitable Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation. It also received an award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

ADP was also responsible for the comprehensive remodelling and refurbishment of Lancaster University’s Physics department.

Professor Richard Haley, the Inaugural Director of IsoLab said: “We put together a team of scientists, and guided by the expert advice of Professor George Pickett, FRS, worked with the designers and builders to create a purpose-built facility which has some really innovative elements.”