Reaction kinetics in uniform supersonic flow (Cinétique de Réaction en Ecoulement Supersonique Uniforme, CRESU) is an experiment investigating chemical reactions taking place at very low temperatures.
The technique involves the expansion of a gas or mixture of gases through a de Laval nozzle from a high-pressure reservoir into a vacuum chamber. As it expands, the nozzle collimates the gas into a uniform supersonic beam, which is essentially collision-free and has a temperature that, in the centre-of-mass frame, can be significantly below that of the reservoir gas. Each nozzle produces a characteristic temperature. This way, any temperature between room temperature and about 10 K can be achieved.
There are relatively few CRESU apparatuses in existence for the simple reason that the gas throughput and pumping requirements are huge, which makes them expensive to run. Two of the leading centres have been the University of Rennes (France) and the University of Birm