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Physical Chemistry

Helium supply program reopens to academics

by Andrea Widener
July 10, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 28

ACS and the American Physical Society are seeking new participants for their collaboration to provide academics cheaper and more reliable access to liquid helium, which is important for some scientific instruments. A pilot project of the Liquid Helium Purchasing Program began in 2015, when the scientific societies partnered with the Defense Logistics Agency to provide helium for participants who receive federal funding. The program began with seven participants: Amherst College, Boise State University, Stanford University, the University of Memphis, the University of New Hampshire, West Texas A&M University, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. They reported more reliable access to helium and average savings of approximately 15% on their helium costs. The program has since expanded to 12 institutions. Universities and colleges that are interested in joining the Liquid Helium Purchasing Program should answer the questionnaire on the program’s website,, by July 21. Liquid helium prices and availability continue to be a concern after a June blockade of Qatar. That nation recently shut down a major helium production facility after its Middle Eastern neighbors cut off its supply lines.


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