Low temperature experiments are very expensive to run. That’s why we need such large grants to do research for a 2-3 year project. Just considering Liquid Helium alone:
I run the fridge about 2 times a month, and I use about 150L of LHe4 each time. Liquid Helium costs about £5 a litre. I also run the Continuous Flow 4.2K experiment quite often, which is about another 50-100L per month. That’s almost £2000 a month just on Helium for 2 experiments. This is why I wish I was a theorist sometimes. I could buy a really neat pencil and some very executive ‘backs of envelopes’ for that. j/k of course 😉
But you can start to see where all the money goes. Helium is usually considered before any of the equipment, maintenance, and technician costs…
If you’ve ever wondered what 150L of Liquid Helium looks like, wonder no more!
It looks like this: