Success of a cryosurgical procedure, i.e., maximal cell destruction, requires that the cooling rate be controlled during the freezing process. Standard cryosurgical devices are not usually designed to perform the required controlled process. In this study, a new cryosurgical device was developed which facilitates the achievement of a specified cooling rate during freezing by accurately controlling the probe temperature variation with time. The new device has been experimentally tested by applying it to an aqueous solution of mashed potatoes. The temperature field in the freezing medium, whose thermal properties are similar to those of biological tissue, was measured. The cryoprobe temperature was controlled according to a desired time varying profile which was assumed to maximize necrosis. The tracking accuracy and the stability of the closed loop control system were investigated. It was found that for most of the time the tracking accuracy was excellent and the error between the measured probe temperature and the desired set point is within ±0.4°C. However, noticeable deviations from the set point occurred due to the supercooling phenomenon or due to the instability of the liquid nitrogen boiling regime in the cryoprobe. The experimental results were compared to those obtained by a finite elements program and very good agreement was obtained. The deviation between the two data sets seems to be mainly due to errors in positioning of the thermocouple junctions in the medium.

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