• Production


Small, cold and compact – the properties of the cooling systems developed by Qinu GmbH, known as cryostats, are classic and yet so different. The spin-off from KIT, founded in 2021, turns previous research on its head, figuratively speaking, and develops high-tech cryostats for industry and research. A masterpiece under the magnifying glass.

Proven in the laboratory

Cryostats for cooling in the extreme cold range are nothing new. The technology was developed back in the 1960s, but has so far only been used in research environments. However, the increasing performance of new technologies continuously requires more efficient and more powerful cooling systems. Especially in the field of emerging quantum technologies such as computing, sensor technology and communication, extremely low temperatures are a fundamental prerequisite for operation. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wernsdorfer, Humboldt Professor at the Physics Institute (PHI) of KIT and co-founder of Qinu, laid the foundation for the commercialization of such cryostats with his research focus on smaller, more compact and, above all, more efficient cryostats. "I got involved in the topic as a doctoral student under Prof. Wernsdorfer and quickly realized through contact with other researchers that the demand for cryostats is increasing and that the potential for commercial use is huge," says Marcel Schrodin, co-founder and Managing Director of Qinu, describing the incentive for founding the company.


Founded cold as ice

The idea of founding the company was born quickly. The founders started implementation with a prototype. "We founded the company relatively quickly without a finished product, but with the aim of developing a marketable cryostat from the existing prototype. We looked at how we could cool faster while taking safety regulations into account and complying with all specifications. We wanted to make production even simpler and cheaper," says Schrodin, describing the steps involved. In addition to practicality, functionality was also a top priority for the founding team. "We can't assume that our customers are trained cryogenic technicians and understand the system straight away. They want to press a button and then it has to work. That's why automation was essential for us right from the start," continues Schrodin.



Qinu's cryostat systems, which look like three funnel-shaped wire structures.
The Qinu founders have turned the funnel-shaped design of conventional cryostats on its head and reversed the arrangement of the cooling stages. (Image: Amadeus Bramsiepe / KIT)

With good arguments on the market

With appropriate sensors for regulation and control and an extensive revision of the integrated software, the team has developed a marketable cryostat that can reach temperatures as low as -273.14 degrees Celsius, which is only 0.01 degrees Celsius above absolute zero. "We have made the successful transfer from research to application. Three features are particularly interesting for the market: our compact design, the fast, efficient cooling and the revised hardware for cheaper production. We are also more resource-efficient in terms of power consumption and the use of cryogenic gases such as helium," says Schrodin, describing the unique selling points of the young company. Conventional cryostats are designed in such a way that the warmest and largest cooling stage is located at the top and the coldest and smallest cooling stage at the bottom. Pictorially, conventional cryostats are therefore funnel-shaped and "hang" from the ceiling. The Qinu founders have literally turned this design on its head and reversed the arrangement of the cooling stages. This makes them easier to use in quantum technology applications. "These usually consist of experiments that take place on optical tables.

A cryostat hanging from the ceiling is difficult to integrate, whereas our system can be mounted upright on tables," explains Schrodin. Another unique selling point is the fast, efficient cooling of the Qinu system. "Other systems achieve similar cooling temperatures, but take much longer. Our cryostats need around three hours from room temperature to operating temperature before the system can be used. This makes us around six to eight times faster than other manufacturers. This time advantage is particularly interesting for short-term characterizations in research," explains Schrodin. The high cooling capacity of Qinu results from its smaller size and the technical components installed. Regulation and control sensors used in the Qinu system monitor the temperature and enable the transition to the next cooling stage as soon as the required temperature is reached.

The three founders are standing in front of the gas handling system, which is part of the Qinu cryostat.
Qinu founders Marcel Schrodin, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wernsdorfer and Péter Fejes (from left to right) with a gas handling system that is part of the Qinu cryostat. (Image: Amadeus Bramsiepe / KIT)

Clear vision

The fact that Qinu is an important and successful step towards supporting quantum research is reflected in the feedback the team receives in various ways. They have already delivered the first systems and are currently in the process of ramping up production. "We are talking to investors from all over the world. This shows us that our system is needed and that we have developed a key technology for quantum research. Our current customers are mainly from Europe. However, we are analyzing the international markets in order to solve their challenges - such as certificates, safety regulations and other electrical voltages - and offer the first international system in a timely manner," describes Schrodin. The Qinu team has now grown to 16 people and is looking to the future with confidence. Their aim is to drive forward developments in quantum research with a cool head and concentrated expertise.


Further links


Images: Amadeus Bramsiepe / KIT

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