Thales Cryogenics (TCBV) has an extensive background in developing and delivering long life cryogenic coolers for military, civil and space programs. This cooler range is based on two main compressor concepts: close tolerance contact seals (UP) and flexure bearing (LSF/LPT) compressors. With both concepts Thales Cryogenics has achieved excellent lifetime results.
New market developments require more compact linear cryocoolers with long lifetimes. In this paper the development of two new compact linear cryocoolers will be outlined. Both coolers are initially designed for a ¼” IDCA cold finger and operation between 77K and 120K.
The first cooler type, which is the UP8497, uses a long-life fully miniature close tolerance contact seal compressor with an expected lifetime of 15.000 hours minimum. The second type, which is the LSF9997, uses an extremely reliable compressor, which is based on the proven flexure bearing technology with an expected lifetime of well over 25.000 hours.
The differences in cooler concepts will be described, including design and application trade-offs. Furthermore experimental results will be shown and discussed. Also the expected lifetimes of both concepts will be discussed and the roadmap towards even more improvements regarding the reliability of both concepts of Stirling coolers.
Finally the development of miniature drive electronics suitable for this new generation of compact coolers will be presented.
Willem van de Groep, Jeroen Mullié, Daniel Willems, Frenk van Wordragen, Tonny Benschop