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Development of Miniature, High Frequency Pulse Tube Cryocoolers



Ray Radebaugh, Isaac Garaway, Alexander Veprik


Because acoustic power density is proportional to frequency, the size of pulse tube cryocoolers for a given refrigeration power can be reduced by operating them at higher frequencies. A frequency of about 60 Hz had been considered the maximum frequency that could be used while maintaining high efficiency. Recently, we have shown through modeling that by decreasing the volume and hydraulic diameter of the regenerator and increasing the average pressure, it is possible to maintain high efficiency even for frequencies of several hundred hertz. Subsequent experimental results have demonstrated high efficiencies for frequencies of 100 to 140 Hz. The very high power density achieved at higher pressures and higher frequencies leads to very short cooldown times and very compact devices. The use of even higher frequencies requires the development of special compressors designed for such conditions and the development of regenerator matrices with hydraulic diameters less than about 30 m. To demonstrate the advantages of higher frequency operation, we discuss here the development of a miniature pulse tube cryocooler designed to operate at 80 K with a frequency of 150 Hz and an average pressure of 5.0 MPa. The regenerator diameter and length are 4.4 mm and 27 mm, respectively. The lowest temperature achieved to date has been 97 K, but a net refrigeration power of 530 mW was achieved at 120 K. Acoustic mismatches with existing compressors significantly limit the efficiency, but necessary modifications to improve the acoustic impedance match between the compressor and the cold head are discussed briefly.
Proceedings Title
SPIE Conference
Conference Dates
April 5-9, 2010
Conference Location
Orlando, FL


cryocoolers, cryogenics, detectors, high frequency, high power density, miniature, pulse tubes, refrigerators, review, sensors, Stirling


Radebaugh, R. , Garaway, I. and Veprik, A. (2010), Development of Miniature, High Frequency Pulse Tube Cryocoolers, SPIE Conference, Orlando, FL, [online], (Accessed July 12, 2024)


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Created April 5, 2010, Updated November 10, 2018