The demand for more cooling power for infrared imagers, which may require up to 3 W of cooling power at 77 K, is nowadays surpassed as other industries are getting interested in cryogenic cooling as well. These potential markets require robust, efficient and affordable coolers with cooling capacities in excess of 6 W. As announced at the previous SPIE conference in 2000, Thales Cryogenics has been working on the development of a cryocooler based on the LSF 918x series consisting of a flexure bearing compressor in combination with a 20 mm Stirling cold finger in order to meet the demands of this emerging markets. Based on the proven principles of Thales LSF 91xx flexure bearing compressors, a moving magnet compressor was designed that delivers the required pressure wave for this larger cold finger. The compressor has been successfully tested in combination with the 20 mm cold finger resulting in the LSF 93xx cooler. For the second half of 2002, tests are planned for the combination of a version of this compressor with a 5 W pulse tube cold finger. At present, the European Space Agency is funding the space qualification of a modification the LSF 93xx cooler, in order to use it to provide the cryogenic cooling required for future manned missions. A test program for the specific requirements for the CRYOSYSTEM program is under progress. This paper describes the trade-offs that have been considered in the design phase, and gives a detailed overview of the test results and the resulting specification of the LSF 93xx coolers.
Original publication: Proc. SPIE 4820
Tonny Benschop a), Jeroen Mullié a), Peter Bruins a), Jean Yves Martin b)
a) Thales Cryogenics BV, PO box 6034, NL-5600HA Eindhoven, The Netherlands
b) Thales Cryogenie SA, 4, Rue M. Doret, BP22, 31701 Blagnac, France