Portable Cryostat Redesign

Level-One Mohs is a small company with a big dream, to improve treatment of skin cancer. To facilitate this dream, they turned to BYU’s capstone program. Level-One Mohs sponsored Moh-bile Labs to develop a design for a mobile cryostat for use in Moh’s surgery, a procedure used to treat skin cancers. In Moh’s surgery, a technician freezes the biopsy to -20 °C in the cryostat and then cuts it with the microtome. The surgeon uses the cut sections to verify that all the cancer has been removed. These technicians currently haul a cryostat weighting more than 180 lbs from site to site and then wait 2-3 hours for the machine to cool before they are ready for a procedure.

Moh-bile Labs’ design successfully reduced the weight of a machine to 135 lbs. This was accomplished by using a more efficient compressor, reducing the body size and changing from steel to aluminum paneling. Preliminary testing of the refrigeration showed that the temperature of the chamber could reach -15 C within 150 minutes. A microcontroller and thermistor were used to maintain temperature at a set point.

This project focused on redesigning the body and the refrigeration system of the cryostat. This design provides a proof of concept for Level-One Mohs and has given them a viable prototype to work with and to show potential clients and investors. The design also comes with recommendations to decrease the weight, increase the refrigeration capability, and decrease the noise and roughness of the wheels during transport. These recommendations provide a great starting point for future development of the product.


School Year (term): 
Level One Mohs
Team Name: 
Moh-bile Labs
Brady Woolford
Team Members: 
Preston Snyder, Andrew Luker, Sam Arce, Tysum Ruchti

Brigham Young University - Provo | Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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