A miniature Joule-Thomson cooler for optical detectors in space

J.H. Derking, Herman J. Holland, T. Tirolien, Hermanus J.M. ter Brake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The utilization of single-stage micromachined Joule-Thomson (JT) coolers for cooling small optical detectors is investigated. A design of a micromachined JT cold stage–detector system is made that focuses on the interface between a JT cold stage and detector, and on the wiring of the detector. Among various techniques, adhesive bonding is selected as most suitable technique for integrating the detector with the JT cold stage. Also, the optimum wiring of the detector is discussed. In this respect, it is important to minimize the heat conduction through the wiring. Therefore, each wire should be optimized in terms of acceptable impedance and thermal heat load. It is shown that, given a certain impedance, the conductive heat load of electrically bad conducting materials is about twice as high as that of electrically good conducting materials. A micromachined JT cold stage is designed and integrated with a dummy detector. The JT cold stage is operated at 100 K with nitrogen as the working fluid and at 140 K with methane. Net cooling powers of 143 mW and 117 mW are measured, respectively. Taking into account a radiative heat load of 40 mW, these measured values make the JT cold stage suitable for cooling a photon detector with a power dissipation up to 50 mW, allowing for another 27 to 53 mW heat load arising from the electrical leads.
Original languageEnglish
Article number045117
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalReview of scientific instruments
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • METIS-286918
  • IR-80780


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