Characterization of a thermoelectric/Joule–Thomson hybrid microcooler

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Micromachined Joule–Thomson (JT) coolers are attractive for cooling small electronic devices. However, microcoolers operated with pure gases, such as nitrogen gas require high pressures of about 9 MPa to achieve reasonable cooling powers. Such high pressures severely add complexity to the development of compressors. To overcome this disadvantage, we combined a JT microcooler with a thermoelectric (TE) pre-cooler to deliver an equivalent cooling power with a lower pressure or, alternatively, a higher cooling power when operating with the same pressure. This hybrid microcooler was operated with nitrogen gas as the working fluid at a low pressure of 0.6 MPa. The cooling power of the microcooler at 101 K operating with a fixed high pressure of 8.8 MPa increased from 21 to 60 mW when the precooling temperature was reduced by the thermoelectric cooler from 295 to 250 K. These tests were simulated using a dynamic numerical model and the accuracy of the model was verified through the comparison between experimental and simulation results. Based on the model, we found the high pressure of the microcooler can be reduced from 8.8 to 5.5 MPa by lowering the precooling temperature from 295 to 250 K. Moreover, the effect of TE cooler position on the performance of the hybrid microcooler was evaluated through simulation analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-42
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • IR-101039
  • METIS-317635


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