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Compact 2.2 K Cooling System for Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detectors



Vincent Y. Kotsubo, Ray Radebaugh, Sae Woo Nam, Joel N. Ullom, Brandon L. Wilson, Paul Hendershott, Micheal Bonczyski


We are developing a compact, low power, closed cycle cooling system for Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detectors. The base temperature of the present prototype, which uses a helium-4 Joule-Thomson stage, is 2.2 K with over 1.2 mW of cooling. This stage is precooled to 10 K using a 3-stage linear compressor pulse tube cooler. A fully optimized system is projected to consume less than 250 W of wall power, and fit within a standard fan-cooled equipment rack enclosure. To-date, the pulse tube coldhead, pulse tube compressor, Joule-Thomson expansion stage, and Joule-Thomson counter-flow heat exchangers have been developed, and performance tests show that design goals have been met. Substituting helium-3 for helium-4 should result in temperatures approaching 1 K. Future work includes development of the Joule-Thomson compressor, drive and control electronics, and further optimization of the pulse tube and Joule-Thomson coldheads.
Proceedings Title
IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Conference Dates
September 4-30, 2016
Conference Location
Denver, CO
Conference Title
Applied Superconductivity Conference


Cryocoolers, Cryogenics, Joule-Thomson, Pulse Tube‎.


Kotsubo, V. , Radebaugh, R. , Nam, S. , Ullom, J. , Wilson, B. , Hendershott, P. and Bonczyski, M. (2017), Compact 2.2 K Cooling System for Superconducting Nanowire Single Photon Detectors, IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, Denver, CO (Accessed November 29, 2023)
Created January 25, 2017, Updated January 17, 2018