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Demonstration of an Integrated Micro Cryogenic Cooler and Miniature Compressor for Cooling to 200 K

[+] Author Affiliations
Ryan Lewis, M.-H. Lin, Yunda Wang, Jill Cooper, Y. C. Lee

University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO

Peter Bradley, Ray Radebaugh, Marcia Huber

National Institute of Standards & Technology, Boulder, CO

Paper No. IMECE2011-63908, pp. 423-428; 6 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 11: Nano and Micro Materials, Devices and Systems; Microsystems Integration
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5497-6
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Joule-Thompson (J-T) based micro cryogenic coolers (MCCs) are attractive because they can provide the cryogenic temperatures needed for small electronic devices while having a low cost and small volumetric footprint. A compressor is a major part of a cryogenic system, but so far J-T based MCCs have not used miniature or micro scale compressors. This work demonstrates a J-T based MCC coupled with a miniature compressor for cooling to 200 K, using a custom hydrocarbon mixture as refrigerant. The compressor is formed by coupling a miniature piston oscillator built for Stirling coolers with a micromachined check valve assembly. The MCC is formed by glass fibers within a capillary forming a counter flow heat exchanger, and a silicon and glass chip forming a J-T valve. Minimum temperatures of 166 K have been observed in transient, and stable temperatures of 200 ±1 K have been observed for >1 hour. Some insight is given into the unstable performance in terms of intermittent liquid accumulation. The coefficient of performance is analyzed for the system, and it is found that most of the inefficiencies arise at the compressor.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Cooling , Compressors



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