Liquid helium is the coldest fluid that exists in nature. By virtue of this fact, any unwanted substance present in liquid helium, that is, any impurity, will be “frozen” and will be in solid form. In practice, these solid impurities can be easily eliminated to obtain “optically clean” liquid. However, even “optically clean” filtered liquid helium may contain a non-negligible quantity of molecular hydrogen. These minute traces of molecular hydrogen are the causes of a known problem worldwide: the blockage of capillary tubes in helium evaporation cryostats. This problem seriously affects a wide range of cryogenic equipment used in low-temperature physics research at a considerable operational cost increase. In this chapter, we propose an underlying mechanism for this effect and provide a definitive solution by means of production of hydrogen-free liquid helium, that is, not only “optically clean” liquid helium but completely “clean” liquid helium. Moreover, basic superfluidity research studies could benefit from the availability of “clean” liquid helium.
Part of the book: Superfluids and Superconductors