Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Development of a 4K Regenerator and Pulse Tube Test Facility



Michael A. Lewis, Peter E. Bradley, Ryan P. Taylor, Ray Radebaugh


Recent advances in superconducting electronic systems are requiring larger envelopes for cooling power, efficiency, and operational environments from commercial based cryogenic cooling systems. One such system targeted at meeting these requirements is the pulse tube cryocooler. While the pulse tube cryocooler system is a well-documented technology at moderate cryogenic temperatures (40-80 K), its behavior at 4 K is not well understood. Recent modeling results using REGEN3.3 and CFD models have shown that 4 K pulse tube cryocoolers can be successfully applied to superconducting electronic systems. To gain confidence in the modeling predictions, experimental validation is required. This paper discusses a test facility designed and constructed to allow for precise measurement of all relevant regenerator and pulse tube energy flows when operating over the temperature range of 4-30 K, frequency range of 10-30 Hz, and cold end phase angle range of -15° to -45°. The novel features of this test facility include independent regenerator and pulse tube characterization, modulation of the system phasing using a commercial expander operating at 4 K, precise off-axis rotation, and rapid experimental turnaround time.


Cryocooler, regenerator, pulse tube, expander, cooling capacity, phase shifting, analytical model, Oscillating flow


Lewis, M. , Bradley, P. , Taylor, R. and Radebaugh, R. (2012), Development of a 4K Regenerator and Pulse Tube Test Facility, Cryocoolers (Accessed June 20, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created October 9, 2012, Updated October 12, 2020