Cooling a low noise amplifier with a micromachined cryogenic cooler

Haishan Cao, R.H. Witvers, Srinivas Vanapalli, Herman J. Holland, Hermanus J.M. ter Brake

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The sensitivity of antenna systems increases with increasing active area, but decreases at higher noise figure of the low-noise amplifier (LNA). Cooling the LNA locally results in significant improvement in the gain and in lowering the noise figure of the LNA. Micromachined Joule-Thomson (JT) coolers can provide a cryogenic environment to the LNA. They are attractive because they have no cold moving parts and can be scaled down to match the size and the power consumption of LNAs. The performance of a LNA mounted on a JT microcooler with dimensions of 60.0 × 9.5 × 0.72 mm3 is reported in this paper. The microcooler is operated with nitrogen gas and the cold-end temperature is controlled at 115 K. The measured net cooling power of the microcooler is about 43 mW when the LNA is not operating. The power dissipation of the LNA is 26 mW, with a supply voltage of 2 V. At room temperature the noise figure of the LNA is 0.83 dB and the gain lies between 17.9 and 13.1 dB, in the frequency range of 0.65 and 1.05 GHz. Upon cooling to 115 K, the noise figure drops to 0.50 dB and the increase in gain varies in the range of 0.6–1.5 dB
Original languageUndefined
Article number105102
Pages (from-to)105102-1-105102-4
JournalReview of scientific instruments
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-300747
  • IR-88624

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