The Liquid Argon (LAr) Purification Test setup at IFGW/Unicamp (PuLarC)


The Liquid Argon Purification Cryostat (PuLArC) is a cryostat designed and built with funding from FAPESP that is installed in the IFGW Vacuum Laboratory and can be used to carry out adsorbent tests for the purification of gases and liquids as a part of the multiuser facility of IFGW (https://portal.ifi.unicamp.br/servicos).  It has two removable filters, purity monitors, photodetection systems, cryogenic circulation pump and 90 L capacity for the fluid to be purified.

History: Playing a crucial role on Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab in Batavia-IL, “Gleb Wataghin” Physics Institute (IFGW) at Unicamp and the companies Akaer/Equatorial Sistemas Ltda came together with Fermilab in a scientific agreement to perform research and development, testing and modeling and prototype construction to overcome challenging scientific and technological problems associated with mass production, purification and regeneration of liquid Argon (LAr) and related cryogenics in large scale facilities, especially when they must be placed deep underground. As such, IFGW/Unicamp led the Phase I of this project supported by FAPESP throughout a combined Special Research Grant (Auxílio Regular de Pesquisa Especial # 2020/01609-2) to IFGW/Unicamp and two Grants for Innovative Research in Small Companies (PIPE) # 2020/00784-5 and 2020/01522-4 for Equatorial Sistemas Ltda.
As a result of the Phase 1 of this project, a conceptual Project Design for the LAr Purification Test Facility to be built at IFGW/Unicamp was finalized. The LAr purification test setup at Unicamp (PuLarC) started working on June 18, 2022 and it is collecting data at the moment. 11 Technical Notes (TN) were published in the LBNF project repository (CERN EDMS). Innovative LAR filtering media were proposed and considering the scientific results regarding the adsorptions mechanisms of O2 and N2 by the proposed media, articles were prepared for publication/presentation in selective Journals in this area. Furthermore, considering the higher performance of our innovative media CuMgAl-LDH compared to the BASF Cu-0226 media in the O2 capturing in our preliminary tests (WG 2), two patents (BR102023024694-0 e BR102023026705-0) were filed due to the high potential of this newly developed media in O2 and N2 filtering in a large variety of applications.

This development granted to this project the 8th National Award on Innovation – Prof. Pascoal Pagliuso – Winner in the Innovator Researcher Category working with Medium Size companies (AKAER).

The legal bases for this project to be conduct with the leading partnership of Unicamp/Akaer/FRA can be found in the agreement ICRADA – CRADA No. FRA-2016-0017 Annex B signed by Unicamp and FRA and in the agreement 08-P-8095/2020 between Unicamp and Equatorial Sistemas Ltda. intervened by the Unicamp Support Foundation – FUNCAMP.
This partnership is a unique opportunity for development of science and technology in industry and universities in Brazil when participating in an extraordinary and unprecedented experiment at the frontiers of Particle Physics, with possibility of important discoveries with great impact on Particle Physics and about the origin of the Universe. This experiment will be focus of great attention of the whole scientific community worldwide for decades.